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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs