Home' Central Canterbury News : September 26th 2012 Contents 7
CENTRAL CANTERBURY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 26, 2012
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THIRD GENERATION: Springston's Paul Loader unpacks his truck ready for the auction.
Growers rise early
for flower auction
By ABBIE NAPIER
DELIVERY: John Chamberlain of Springston unloads his
daffodils and tulips.
IT S STILL DARK when a huge ware-
house door in Addington is rolled up for
growers to unload their trucks.
Inside, under fluorescent lights, roses,
gerberas and lilies are counted, tagged
and hustled onto rolling towers for the
FloraMax auction room.
Truck after truck lines up, stacked full
of the freshest flowers money can buy.
Springston s Paul Loader is a third
generation flower grower and operates
8000sqm of glasshouses at K and L Nur-
His grandfather started growing
flowers decades ago in a garden now
beneath Cashmere High School.
This winter has been difficult for grow-
ers with low temperatures snow and
fewer sunlight hours affecting their prod-
uct. The winter before was worse.
Since the quakes there have been less
hotels and businesses, Paul said. All
those flowers on reception counters aren t
being bought anymore.
It did drop off but it s slowly picking
He seems pretty upbeat and his South
Island-wide distribution has somewhat
minimised the impact of the quakes.
Mr Loader grows hydroponic roses and
It s been challenging this year, he
said. It s all about economies of scale;
you have to grow a lot to sell cheaply.
In 20 minutes he has unloaded thou-
sands of flowers for the auction, all pre-
packed into standard bunches by colour
He has travelled 30 minutes to town
this morning in order to make the 6am
deadline for sale.
Almost immediately after the last
truck pulls away, buyers start arriving,
moving slowly down the rows of petals,
noting their top choices.
It s not long before the auction begins
and it s only just gone 6.30am.
Everyone crowds in front of three
podiums where auction-
eers call the prices simul-
taneously for three differ-
ent products. Unlike other
auctions, the price is
This year, grower John
delivered 100,000 bunches
of daffodils to the markets.
His flowers are all
grown outside, exposed to
the elements, on acres and
acres of land in Springs-
He stays for the auction
and takes away some blue
irises for his retail florist
shop. After all, he can t
While growing flowers
outdoors is tricky, an auc-
tion assistant said glass-
house growers can face a
$10,000 power bill in the
winter months -- seriously
Mr Loader stays on after
he makes his delivery.
While buyers are hag-
gling the price down, he is
hoping they will remain
The ever popular red
roses are the first to go
and usually fetch the best
price -- he hopes for $1.50
It seems pretty cheap to
someone who can pay $60
for a bunch retail.
But the making of a bouquet is more
expensive than I realised.
On top of the cost of the flowers is
GST, an auction house cut, and plenty
of overheads like rent and labour.
Apparently fancy wrapping paper
isn t cheap either.
Suddenly, the profit for retailers
seems as little as that seen by growers.
It is hard to see how either makes
The bustle of the auction is over by
7.30am but can run at least an hour
Friday is the last auction of the week
and there is less for sale.
As everyone departs for the business
day, the smell of freesias and lilies
lingers on in the Addington warehouse.
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