Melissa Nickell, Sun Valley Floral Farm:

US: "We foresee a very strong and extended season for tulips"

Valentine’s Day is around the corner (February 14) and for Sun Valley Floral Farm in California, USA, this means an increase in demand for lilies. However, demand for their tulips is higher as well this year. “Due to a shortage in that category and Holland tulip pricing at record level high we have many customers adding on tulips,” Sun Valley’s Melissa Nickell says. And for tulips, this is just the start as they foresee a very strong and extended season for this crop.

High demand from various channels
According to Nickell, they have been having a lot of success with their various channels: Mass Market, Wholesale, and eCommerce. “As a result, bunch sales are up and, unfortunately, our special event business is down.”

Strong and long season
Sun Valley Floral Farm grows all kind of bulb flowers and many of them, including tulips, are grown year round. January through May is usually their main season for tulips, but this year, they do not only foresee a stronger season, they also foresee a longer season”. “We expect a high demand from Women’s Day to Easter and then on to our Super Bowl--Mother’s Day. We do expect a stronger summer and fall as parts of the country will be allowing special events, fingers crossed!"

Impact 2020
2020 was challenging, for many companies, including Sun Valley. “The biggest change has been adapting to a lean and agile team. We have gotten more accustomed to meeting over Zoom (even when all parties may be on the farm) to maintain social distancing protocols."

Planning for 2021
Planning for 2021 was extremely difficult, explains Nickell. “We were very fortunate to have Lane DeVries (the owner of the company) and an exceptional group of individuals on our leadership team. The team got together regularly (via Zoom) to discuss not only areas of concern but to bring forward creative ideas for moving forward. Ultimately, planning for 2021 felt much like rolling the dice in a casino. There are so many additional factors to consider now than just how many tulips we project we can sell. However, we think we are more prepared for this year and the future because of the work we did in 2020.”

Expectations on demand for flowers post-Covid
When looking ahead, to a situation post-Covid, how is the demand expected to develop? And is it thanks to Covid? “We see demand for personal consumption via Supermarkets is up on an everyday basis with the exception for the past two holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas). However, we hear of may florist having increases in sales as well due to customers sending flowers to those whom they cannot visit.”

Future plans
Planning for the future is still very important to Sun valley. “Our attitude at Sun Valley is that the best is yet to come and so we are constantly planning for the future and making sure we are able to evolve and pivot as rapidly as life seems to be these days! With our biggest focus on sustainability, we are working on ways to do more with less and to cut down on the amount of resources we consume.”

For more information:
The Sun Valley Group
3160 Upper Bay Road
Arcata, CA 95521-9690
T: 800-747-0396
F: 707-826-8708

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