Royal Farm, North of Quito, in the Pinchincha province.
Royal Flowers consists of three large farms in Ecuador, with a total acreage of 120 hectares under greenhouses. Their first farm was established north of Quito, in the Pinchincha province in 1992. A couple of years later, in 1996, they opened the doors of their second farm, Continex, in the southwest of Quito, in the province of Cotopaxi. Roses are grown at both farms. Their third farm, Tababela, is located near Quito's airport and grows hydrangea and eryngium all year round.
Continex farm, southwest of Quito, in the Cotopaxi province.
The Sales, Marketing and Accounting headquarters, as well as the North American distribution point and warehouse are located in Miami, Florida, USA. As roughly 60% of their exports go to the North American market, they established the distribution company in the United States in 1994. The remaining 40% are exported worldwide. In total, they export to 40 countries.
GreenhouseAnnually, 90 million roses in 131 different varieties are cultivated in the two farms near Quito. The roses are grown in metal frame greenhouses. All greenhouses are covered with different films that filter the sunlight differently. "Certain roses will turn different colours with certain wavelengths of light. Therefore, different filters are used for different kind of roses." According to Mr. Biondo, it is very important to change films on schedule. "Even if it still looks good, we will change it in strict
accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.”
Changing the films on time.
Some roses are grown in the ground and other roses, especially the long stem roses 90 centimetres and above, are grown hydroponically. By growing roses hydroponically, ground diseases are avoided. “In growing a long stem rose, we bend the mother plant over to force the shoot to grow upright towards daylight. Since the troughs we use are elevated above ground the mother plant will not come in contact with the ground and become infected by bacteria or soil-borne disease", explains Mr. Biondo.
Achieving a high level of quality is not readily possible for many growers without making huge structural investments. Royal Flowers, on the other hand, can leverage its location and stable climate. The farm is close to the equator at an altitude of 3600 meters in the Andes mountains of Ecuador. "The combination of location, climate and consistent daylight hours enables our roses to possess larger head sizes, deeper and richer colours and a longer vase life than roses grown in other geographic locations."
Minimal Environmental ImpactRoyal Flowers is aware of their impact on the environment and puts great emphasis on advanced and sustainable farming techniques with an emphasis on respect for the environment. Even though they have to deal with pests, mainly nematodes and botrytis, they minimize their use of pesticides, fungicides and other materials.
One such technique is that Royal Flowers fertilizes their roses with compost fortified by the waste of worms. "We raise worms which eat our compost. Their resulting waste serves as fertilizer for our roses."
Future plansAlong with high quality roses, Royal Flowers grows hydrangea and eryngium and is currently expanding their market potential. "We have noticed that the plants are growing very well in our Tababela farm, and the worldwide demand is increasing." Their aim is to produce hydrangea similar in quality to that of Dutch growers, but to offer them year round. "This year, we will put a lot of effort in that", says Mr. Biondo.
Click here to see the Royal Flower Farm Tour video.
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