It wasn’t all ASAE & the Center business when I was in San Diego two weeks ago. Society of American Florists (SAF) Chief Operating Officer Drew Gruenburg and I visited with Paul Ecke III of the Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas, California to tour their impressive poinsettia propagating operation.
If you’re not sure what a poinsettia is, think of the massive displays of the red and green plants during Christmas time offered by your local retail florists and most big box stores. The Paul Ecke Ranch is responsible for the majority of poinsettias you’ll see during the holiday season as they own the intellectual property and provide the original cuttings sold to other growers for most of the plants that end up on store shelves. Read more about the history of the poinsettiahere.
We visited with Paul Ecke III on his first day back from a two-week business and leisure trip so Drew and I certainly appreciated the time he spent for us that Monday. I’ve set up a photo gallery of our entire tour so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Paul is the fourth generation of growers starting with his great grandfather Albert and takes over the poinsettia growing business started by his grandfather Paul Sr. You can read all about the history of the Paul Ecke Ranch here.
Although the Ranch was the first and most prolific producer of holiday poinsettias when the business began, Paul talked about how their business has moved more and more to research and development. It first started with his father Paul Ecke Jr., as the business started to produce more varieties of poinsettias that offered different color shades and leaf shapes. Paul says the cost of producing poinsettias is up due to rising fuel and heating costs so we may see less poinsettias on store shelves in the upcoming season as growing operations across the country cut back or worse yet, go out of business.
Again, many thanks to Paul Ecke III for his time, industry insights and for the wonderful tour of his family’s operation. We’ll see Paul again at SAF’s 124th Annual Convention in Palm Beach Florida in a couple of weeks as he presents the industry award named after his father, Paul Ecke Jr.
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