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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid