Tulip farm closed to public this year

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    Triflor NZ operational manager Rudi Verplancke will have Labour Day off this year for the first time in 15 years as the tulip farm's annual open day was cancelled with an alternative event in its place.

    THE collective colour of petals is what visitors to an Edendale tulip farm flock to photograph each year, but it is what lies underneath which is truly treasured.

    Triflor NZ operational manager Rudi Verplancke explained that while they were tulip growers, it was the bulb which was exported.

    “Although those flowers look beautiful, that is not our export product… What we export is under the ground. We export the bulb to commercial flower growers.”

    About 60 million bulbs were likely to be exported this year, with about 35 varieties.

    “A lot of the bulbs go to America; they are the bright, bold colours.

    More than 35 tulip varieties are grown by Triflor NZ.

    “Red, orange and yellow – they are very important colours for us because the bulbs you see here now will be used next autumn.”

    Before harvest each year, the flowers were able to be viewed at a Labour Day open day; this year, the decision was made to instead hold an alternative event at the Edendale Presbyterian Church.

    “All our paddocks are closed to the public this year. The reason is obvious, I think.”

    Ms Verplancke said while New Zealand “had a good handle” on Covid-19 at the moment, as the company relied on skilled overseas workers in its core staff, it could not take any risk in exposing them to sickness.

    “Covid-19 and the lockdown, that was an interesting time for us. The biggest problem for us was the fact we weren’t allowed to export so we had all our bulbs from last year’s harvest sitting in the sheds.”

    Just in time, the country went into Alert Level 3, and they were able to export the bulbs.

    He said there was a silver lining.

    “America has always been our main focus market, and some of the clients started to drop some of the numbers.”

    This forced the sales team to look into new markets which they were not so strong in.

    “They’ve done a fantastic job in that regard. Although the numbers are not massive at this stage, it opened for us good opportunities.”

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