News / USA

Virginia Factory Turns Out Tulips by the Millions

Dutch flower farmer ships 400,000 blooms each day

Workers at Fresh Tulips USA in Virginia, ship out  45 million flowers each year.
Workers at Fresh Tulips USA in Virginia, ship out 45 million flowers each year.

Multimedia

Meg Farrage

Spring means watching flowers bloom and one amazing place to watch this happen can be found near Stevensburg, Virginia, just 113 kilometers (70 miles) outside of Washington.  At Fresh Tulips USA, they pick 4.5 million of these buds every week, making it one of the largest greenhouses in the world.  

Coen Haakman is a Dutch tulip farmer who moved his tulip-growing operation to the United States in 2004.  In just seven years his company has become one of the world’s largest tulip producers.

"We are a tulip factory," says Haakman. "We employ about 100 employees.  We are open from about from 7 a.m. in the morning until 3 a.m. at night."

Haakman’s original goal was to sell about five million tulips a year.  His annual sales are now at 45 million with the company shipping 400,000 tulips a day. The blooms travel to market across half the United States - from Boston down to Florida, and across to Texas.

Besides the sheer scale of this operation, there’s another interesting fact.  All these tulips are grown without using soil.

"We grow them all hydroponically. All our bulbs grow without any soil, or chemicals or pesticides," says Haakman. "The bulb itself has so many nutrients in it that it can grow by itself. It only needs water and some fertilizer to get to a full product and I think that is pretty innovative."

It’s not easy to grow 45 million tulips a year.  It requires running a tight ship and one of the most modern facilities.

"The greenhouse is about 40,000 square meters," says Haakman. "We have about eight million tulips in the greenhouse itself. It is fully automated. We have screens on top so we can open up the complete roof. It is all glass, hardened glass. We've got energy curtains, shade curtains, heating, water.  Everything is prepared here to grow lots of tulips."

Throughout the greenhouse, watering booms slowly water the entire bay while workers are busy planting, picking and packaging the tulips.

Normally, the facility ships about 400,000 tulips a day.  But that number goes up dramatically around the U.S. Mother’s Day holiday in May.  Haakman says preparations for Mother’s Day start a year in advance.

"If we don’t prepare in May for what we need the next year in May, we will be too late.  I need roughly five-six million tulips for Mother’s Day and if I don’t prepare that on time, I will not have them."

Haakman says it’s common for large-scale tulip production to be done hydroponically.  But he says there are only about five other tulip-growing operations in the world as large as his.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid