80-year-old Subhag Berry, a Pune-based floriculturist, believes that no matter the season or circumstances, roses always stay in demand. Owner of Berrys Roses and Petals, Berry said that while the pandemic and lockdown halted rose harvest for a while, the five-acre land at MIDC Floriculture Park, Talegaon Dabhade, will soon see increased production of nine varieties of Dutch roses.
Started in the year 2012, Berrys Roses and Petals has been cultivating Dutch roses to meet demand from both India and overseas. “We grow the Dutch roses in our polyhouses throughout the year with state-of-the-art drip irrigation and harvest facilities. The newest addition is the three-and-a-half acre of land that we are working on. The new polyhouses will intensify the production of the flowers,” she said.
Berry explained that although the lockdown put a stop to harvest work due to absence of transportation, the farm worked on the nourishment of rose plants. “Flowers are perishable items and instead of harvesting them in the morning like we usually do, we nutrified our plants in the months before the lockdown eased,” she said.
While the Top Secret (red) variety of Dutch roses is the most popular, Berry said the lighter shades also have their share of demand. These include Gold Strike (yellow), Avalanche (white), Revival (pink), Amarosa (peach), Igwana (dark pink), Tropical Amazon (orange), Contrast and Peach Avalanche (off-white).
The farm is also home to a team of 30 farmers, who work tirelessly to produce and harvest around 6,000 to 7,000 sticks of roses per day. “We have workers living in quarters on the premises and their attending to the roses results in quality roses. We also ensure that we look after our workers so if ever they need financial aid, we can provide them loans from the company,” said Berry.
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