Last night was the mother of cold, wet Valentine’s Day shipping days. This was the peak day of the 2013 event and the rose farms in Ecuador are trying to fulfill all their orders. Trucks have had to make three or four trips from farm to Quito and back again, and cargo agencies were receiving flowers well into the wee hours of the morning. Almost all cargo vehicles are rented out at this time, so some growers are sending flowers in pick-ups in which boxes of expensive roses are swathed in plastic to protect from the rain. Personally, I reject any flowers arriving in this condition, as they have no cooling and little protection. Speaking of rain, the heavens finally opened on a dry, parched Ecuador that has not had any precipitation in over two months and has continued to rain non-stop from yesterday morning until now, and the weather forecast calls for several days of the same. This of course will engender another set of problems for growers, including an onslaught of fungal issues including botrytis and mildew.
The last couple of nights had been very smooth for Mayesh’s delivery of flowers, but last night the sheer volume of product arriving combined with dangerous driving conditions and late dispatches of trucks from the farms made for a long night. Working through the traffic of precariously loaded pallet jacks moving from staging area to trucks by young, impertinent stevedores, as well as constant revision of products by customer agents such as myself and the agricultural inspectors and constricted by an all too congested cold room, the task at hand was finally accomplished at 2am. At this time I was able to send Mayesh’s load of beautiful roses off to UPS, even though a few farms had to be left behind as they were too late to make the cut-off.