- Forbidden to open last year, florists will be accessible this time for the sale of lily of the valley.
- Nearly 90% of French lily of the valley is produced by around fifteen producers in the Nantes region.
- The lucky flower has not suffered from the recent frost. It will be present in quantity.
The trauma is erased. After a 2020 campaign which has turned into a disaster due to the confinement and closure of florists, lily of the valley is making a long-awaited return this Saturday 1st hand. Nearly sixty million strands will go on sale this weekend in France. And like every year, most of the production comes from the Nantes region. About fifteen market gardeners specialize in the flower with lucky bells.
“Last year, the late authorization of click and collect had finally made it possible to limit the breakage a little, but only 30% of the usual volumes had been marketed,” recalls Antoine Thiberge, director of the Nantes market gardeners federation. There were very strong economic consequences, very big losses, but no business failed because most of them also produce vegetables in parallel. Fortunately, this time around, the florists’ subject was settled very early on. Travel restrictions are also less restrictive. The lily of the valley party will be there. “
Luck has turned, including for recruitments
Unlike fruit trees and vines, the plant did not suffer from the severe spring frost either. “The strands are very beautiful and in quantity”, rejoices Antoine Thiberge. The unforeseen change in the school calendar even had positive consequences for producers. “We were worried about a shortage of staff because the students were not to be available. Eventually, they found themselves on vacation and were able to participate in the picking. It is a significant reinforcement. Nearly 7,000 employment contracts were signed in April for the lily of the valley harvest. “In addition to students, we also have loyal retirees, job seekers who sometimes come from far away, asylum seekers… Picking is a good springboard for discovering market gardening trades for which there are regular needs. “
Delivering the lily of the valley imperatively on May 1, whatever the climatic hazards, is a renewed challenge. “I am not aware of other products with the same constraints,” notes the director of the Nantes market gardeners federation. Each time we wonder how to get there. And every year the producers get there. It’s a lot of adrenaline for them. The rhythm is very, very dense. They come out on the knees but happy. “
Unlike last year, the sale of lily of the valley by individuals on the public highway is again authorized, in compliance with health regulations. Competition accepted by professionals. “It’s an old tradition,” emphasizes Antoine Thiberge. It is not the same clientele either. The person who wants to make a pretty bouquet will necessarily go to a florist ”.