Flower Farmers Rush to Move Product Before They Wilt

NBCUniversal, Inc.

There is nothing like the smell of fresh-cut flowers. Flowers are there for the happy times and the sad. They can say "I love you" and sometimes say "I'm sorry."

Many might think the agricultural industry is thriving during the coronavirus pandemic due to the high demand for food, but flower farmers across California are not seeing big business.

Instead, they're seeing record low sales, prompting a rush to get flowers sold before they go bad.

Michael Mooney runs product development for Floral Union Farms, a cooperative of farmers working to get their flowers directly to consumers.

Mooney said he usually looks to flower shops and event venues to buy flowers.

"With the cancelation of weddings and special events like quinceañeras, graduation events, cruise ships, farmers markets, just that segment is 25 percent of our customers which are mandated to close," Mooney told NBC 7.

Flower farmers are having a hard time getting people to smell the roses and many are ending up in the dump.

"We are throwing away 50 percent, maybe more in some cases. Some of our farms have closed. Some have closed indefinitely," he said.

Mooney has shifted to no-contact home delivery for $10 a bunch to try and move product. He does about 10 deliveries a day to neighbors and friends.

"I love fresh flowers. I feel like they bring something special to your life and to your apartment," recent customer Hillary Conlin said.

When it's tough to make a buck, Mooney said the flower-induced smiles are what motivate him.

"Flowers have a healing power when you are surrounded by them in your workspace, which is now also your home space."

Mooney said he is only delivering flowers to downtown San Diego and Coronado as of this publishing. He is asking people to call him at (760) 458-9549.

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