Updated: Feb 24
Contributed by Caleigh Martella | Sophomore | Agricultural Communication
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to highlight one of the most beautiful gifts of the season: cut flowers. What are cut flowers you may ask? They are flowers harvested and cut along the stem and used for ornamental purposes, such as floral arrangements, to form a bouquet or even a wreath. Other types of flowers are potted or used for seed and landscaping.
Erin Dobbe, a sophomore Agricultural Communication student with an Agricultural Business minor told us about her family’s flower farm, Holland America Farms (HAF). HAF is a cut-flower greenhouse/open field operation in both Woodland, WA and Arroyo Grande, California. HAF specializes in tulips, peonies, lilies, freesias, and snapdragons.
The company began with Erin's grandparents, Benno and Klazina Dobbe, when they decided to leave their bulb farm in the Netherlands to pursue the “American Dream”. The first farm they started was in Woodland, Washington, which has a similar climate to that of where they moved from in Holland. In 1986, Benno decided to expand the family business in Arroyo Grande, California, which also hosts the perfect climate for lily production in greenhouses.
Holland America Farms distributes its products to wholesalers, retailers, mass markets and locals! “If you see lilies and/or freesia in Trader Joe’s in San Luis Obispo County and neighboring regions, there is 100% chance those are ours!” Erin said.
During Valentine’s Day, HAF's most popular item is bouquets which include roses from neighboring farms along with HAF lilies, eucalyptus, freesias, and ranunculus. Erin shared the flower market produces 8-15 times more volume in the two major holidays of the year (Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day). The price of transportation is the same year-round but the prices of flowers increase in all aspects of the industry by 40-60%.
Holland America takes pride in the company's motto- “Dutch roots in American soil” and encourage buyers to look for the CA Grown seal when purchasing flowers in order to support local farms. Visitors are encouraged to contact HAF to schedule tours. Say Happy Valentine's Day with flowers!