Russian grower Dolina Roz cultivates 10 Dutch rose varieties of red, white, yellow and orange colors. The flower grower harvests up to 15,000 pieces a day, and employs 60 people.
“We have non-stop production”, says chief agronomist Sergey Stroginov, “irrespective of the season, day of the week or holidays. Every morning starts with cutting ripe roses. We carry them on trolleys to cold storage. There the flowers 'drink' cold water; it removes excessive air from the stems."
The roses are then sent to the sorting area where the growers hang each flower manually to the conveyor belt. A robot cuts the stems and sorts them according to length. The bunches of various colours and lengths are then delivered to the shops.
Meanwhile, work in the greenhouse continues, side shoots from rose bushes are removed, and excessive buds are cut off.
“Our greenhouse is an exact copy of a Dutch one. We deliver roses all over Russia. And the locals receive the freshest produce imaginable”, noted Mr. Stroginov.
Dolina Roz normally supplies 80 cm roses. “Customers prefer bouquets to single flowers and it is more convenient for a florist to use flowers of medium length. It doesn’t influence the quality of the flower”, remarked the chief agronomist.
Lighting and biological protection
The roses enjoy optimal temperature and humidity conditions, a Dutch computer program controls the climate system. There are ventilation windows in the greenhouse roof and the amount of sunlight is regulated with energy saving screens.
“In order to grow, a rose needs 20 hours of light a day. In hot weather, we use screens to block excessive sunlight and prevent the flowers from burning. In cloudy weather we do the opposite”, reported Mr. Stroginov.
In summer and in winter roses are fertilized with CO2 for the
photosynthesis. Watering is also automated.
And the employees of Dolina Roz don’t fight with harmful insects, as other insects do that for them.
“See the small packets next to the paths?” shows Mr. Stroginov. “It is biological protection by a Dutch producer. A special substance in the packets contains insects. They come out, crawl along the stem and look for their prey. We have minimized all the chemical treatment due to this technology”.
Nowadays the idea of a Dutch rose being one meter long and with a big bud is obsolete, says the agronomist. Few customers know that such roses are in fact grown in Ecuador, Kenya and Colombia, he says.
“Dutch specialists have calculated that it’s much more profitable to grow roses in South American countries with a more favorable climate. They sent their agronomists there and hired the locals to work in the plantations. The flowers are then delivered to Amsterdam and sold in an auction”, shared Mr. Stroginov.
"Judging by the amount of time flowers spend on the way, the end customers can hardly get fresh produce. Dutch specialists acknowledge that, they came to the Dolina Roz enterprise and were surprised by the freshness of the flowers here."
In order to keep up the quality, the flower growers from Dolina Roz have to work long and hard. Unlike the Dutch market, where the flower business has been developing for many centuries, the Russian flower boom started only 10 years ago and there is a lot to catch up on.