From Latin America With Love: The Valentine’s Day Challenge

There are remarkable similarities in how fresh flowers and fruit get to your doorstep.

Every Februarflowers-colombia-2017-58y, shoppers depend on farmers in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica for a universal token of love and affection – fresh cut flowers.

These temperate countries provide a significant amount of the delicate floras that are given during the Valentine’s Day season.

For everyone preparing to take their loved ones out to dinner to celebrate, the same care and planning used to deliver the flowers also helps make those romantic meals a reality.

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The same care and planning used to deliver flowers also helps make those romantic meals a reality.

From farm to table

The process for transporting flowers from farm to table is strikingly similar to how seasonal fruits and vegetables are harvested and shipped for Valentine’s Day meals.

UPS uses temperature-controlled airplanes to shuttle delicate floras from Latin America, which also are filled with perishable foods dormant during North America’s cold winter months.

Intimate Valentine’s Day dinner menus would be much more limited without fresh fare such as blueberries from Argentina, passion fruit from Santo Domingo and exotic fruits such as rambutan delivered from Guatemala.

The variety of entrees also would be more limited without tilapia from Honduras and Costa Rica, cobia from Panama and okra that’s flown in from Nicaragua.

A holiday rush 

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Americans will spend $2 billion on flowers this Valentine’s Day.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) anticipates that Americans will spend $2 billion on flowers this Valentine’s Day, which would account for 35 percent of the holiday’s spending. That trails just jewelry at $4.3 billion (given by 19 percent of shoppers) and an evening out at $3.8 billion (by 37 percent of shoppers).

In addition to the sheer volume, UPS alone expects to ship more than 89 million flowers. It takes as little as two days to cut, hydrate, box and transport these delicate bouquets to floral distributors.

The preparation needed to orchestrate the workers, trucks and planes shuttling these fragile gifts requires choreography that’s as precise and fluid as a Valentine’s Day ballet.

More than 90 percent of the imported flowers sold in the United States travel through Miami International Airport, where UPS is the largest cargo carrier.

bogota-colombia-gateway-flowers-2017-1This year, UPS will fill 64 Boeing 767 temperature-controlled cargo planes so retailers can be properly stocked with 8 million pounds of fresh cut blossoms in time for Cupid’s big day.

When Cupid comes out to play each Valentine’s Day, an elaborate and sophisticated logistics network – farmers, shippers, distributors and retailers – comes together in a seamless, well-orchestrated performance.

The singular goal is to make pleasures like fresh cut flowers and an evening out a very personal and memorable experience. And it can be as simple as a single rose from Colombia, with love. goldbrown2

You might also like:

The Logistics of Love

The Logistics of Keeping Flowers Fresh

Smoothing the Path From Grape to Glass


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Francisco Ricaurte is UPS’s country manager for the Andean Countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

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