US: For growers, Outstanding Varieties provides opportunity to stand apart

Toward the end of 2018, Juan David Lecuona began fielding hundreds of queries from industry members hungry for more information on ‘Alma’— a bright white chrysanthemum with a perfectly green center grown by his company, Deliflor Latin America.

The reason for that spike in interest? In September, ‘Alma’ scored Best in Show honors during the Society of American Florists’ annual Outstanding Varieties Competition.

“We received hundreds of calls and emails, asking us about the varieties, when and where could they get them, also we were featured in many publications (free press), all good, making us very proud of our products,” said Lecuona. The company, which also won a number of ribbons for other varieties entered in the 2018 competition, plans to enter 10 varieties this year during SAF Amelia Island 2019, Sept. 18-21 at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island in Florida.

Recognition in the Outstanding Varieties Competition carries weight with buyers. The Sun Valley Group won Best in Class honors for a freesia named “Versailles” and decorative foliage called “Continus Smokebush,” plus several Blue and Red Ribbons in 2018.

“When a buyer asks us about a particular lily, and we can say, ‘It just won a Blue Ribbon at the SAF Outstanding Varieties Competition.’ The buyer immediately knows that this is a product representing the best quality available,” said Lane DeVries, AAF, and president and CEO at the Sun Valley Group in Arcata, California.

Read more at the Society of American Florists

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