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The Importance of the Cold Chain

Back in the day, flower shops got their flowers from the farm in town. Today, a florist’s inventory process comes from an entirely different hemisphere. That means that a lot could go wrong when shipping or receiving flowers.  

One of the most important things a florist can do to ensure they receive their products in their best condition is to invest in a cold chain, but what is a cold chain? A cold chain is essentially a temperature-controlled supply chain. A cold chain begins at the farm and continues throughout the delivery process. Once the flowers are harvested, they must be kept within a certain temperature throughout every step of the way to the flower shop. This is often between 34-38 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold chains are crucial in the cut flower business. Without it, the flowers will be unable to withstand the long transportation process. 

How Does it Work? 

When the flowers are picked, they are hydrated and treated in a refrigerated room. This removes any field heat before the flowers are graded, bunched and sleeved in a cooling hydration system. They are then loaded onto a refrigerated truck that takes the flowers to the airport, where they are put on a temperature-controlled airplane. When the plane lands, the flowers are inspected by customs in a refrigerated hall. They are then put back on a refrigerated truck that takes them to the flower shops. All florists should try to keep the flowers at the same temperature as they were while being transported. Otherwise, it could lead to damaged and infected flowers. 

What Can Happen... 

If florists do not invest in cold chains, they risk having subpar flowers. Fluctuating temperatures can lead to water loss, tissue deterioration and the creation of Botrytis. A bad temperature can also germinate B. cinerea spores. This could lead to the flowers being damaged or ultimately useless, which can be a large blow to a florist that is starting out. 

Any time you receive floral product from your local wholesaler, be sure to stay in communication. If you receive product that is damaged, take photos and contact them immediately. They are willing to correct the issue, but if you put it off, you may pass the guaranteed deadline. Be on top of it and communicate to ensure you receive the best product possible.