An ode to the Cold Chain… “In recent years, the floral supply and distribution chain has grown ever longer. Flowers come from greater distances than ever before to reach the retailer and the consumer. Despite these distances, the overwhelming majority of flowers tend to arrive healthy and vibrant, with plenty of vase life remaining.” What is the formula for success?
Well, as this article Floralife® wrote for Floriology entitled “Cold Chain Consistency Equals Floral Success” explains, there are many steps along the way, and proper care and handling at each step is critical. And one of the most important protocols is adherence to the Cold Chain.
We then follow along on the flowers’ epic refrigerated journey. Here’s the WAY condensed version!
The Cold Chain begins right after harvest. Flowers go to a postharvest center cooling room, then hydration and treatment in cooled solutions. On to processing, then they are graded, bunched, and sleeved. Then into boxes where they wait in a cooler for transport. Then, a refrigerated truck ride to the airport. Into a another cooler, and then on to a refrigerated airplane. From the airplane to a refrigerated hall at their destination to await customs. Into another refrigerated truck and off to the distribution center or bouquet operation. Bouquets are made in cool rooms, and then flowers are paced in pre-cooled boxes to await yet another refrigerated truck ride to the customer distribution center. At the customer distribution center, flowers are stored in coolers away from produce until they are ready to head off to the retail store. Once again, a refrigerated truck ride to the retail location where they wait in another (non-produce) cooler until they are ready for merchandising.
WHEW! Did you get all that? Don’t worry, we lay it all out in fine detail. And we stress this important Cold Chain fact: at every stop along the way, dedicated flower pros work to keep the temperature a steady 34 – 38 degrees F (1-3 C). Why? Well, we tell you why, as well as what can happen when you don’t mind the cold chain. It’s not pretty – or profitable!
Finally we conclude: “when those flowers are in your care, remember the hard work and constant focus of floral professionals from the farm forward who work to deliver the freshest, healthiest, most beautiful flowers possible for the consumer. Then, do your part, and obey the Cold Chain !”
Be sure to read the entire piece over at Floriology. See you next time!