Cornish based daffodil grower, Rowe Farming is looking to champion the sale of bigger bulbs through the retail sector, a market now estimated to be worth several million pounds to UK producers.
The firm's manager, Robert Stacey, who has nearly 20 years experience in growing daffodils and drying bulbs, believes there is a need to communicate to the retail sector the benefits of selling bulbs of a larger grade, as bigger bulbs guarantee flowers, while smaller ones don’t.
Rowe Farming is the single biggest producer of daffodil bulbs and daffodil cut flowers in the UK, growing and processing up to 7,500 tonnes of bulbs annually, from more than 60 varieties of daffodils grown on 600 hectares in Cornwall.
Stacey said: “There is a tendency by retailers to want to sell bulbs by numbers because it looks like a better deal for the consumer, however this brings with it quality issues. Smaller bulbs are less likely to flower in the first year.
"I’m keen to encourage retailers to adopt the idea of selling bigger or higher grade bulbs that are guaranteed to flower in that crucial first year and which would improve satisfaction all round – the end consumer would not be disappointed, which, in turn, would lead to fewer complaints and so a happy retailer.”
To Stacey, the ideal grading size is between 11 and 15, although Rowe Farming can and does supply bulbs to smaller specifications if required.
In 2012 Rowe Farming was bought by AIM listed company Produce Investments, which also owns Greenvale, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of fresh potatoes.