As we roll into March, warmer weather finally seems within reach, and an infamously petite blossom starts vying for our attention. Author Gertrude S. Wister was quoted as saying: "The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size." Daffodils most certainly deserve their place in this declaration; as the birth-flower for March, they are oftentimes the first bulb seen coming up from the frosty ground. Traditional wisdom implies that to ensure happiness, always give daffodils in a bunch, as they are an emblem of luck and future prosperity.
For the past several years, Whole Foods Market has partnered with the Washington Bulb Company in Mount Vernon, WA to bring our stores one of the finest in the daffodil family. Specializing in the Dutch Master, as well as Flower Carpet, Unsurpassable and Standard Value, these varieties are real show-stoppers - known for their rich golden color, true trumpet shape and thick, upright stems. When it comes to daffodils, most of us visualize the standard yellow bloom, but did you know there are approximately thirteen recognized divisions of daffodil? Within each division, there are cultivars (or variety classifications) that are based on the description, and measurement of the variety. Depending on which botanist you talk to, there are between 40 and 200 different species, subspecies or varieties divided among the thirteen divisions of the classification system; so not all daffodils are created equal!
Owned and operated by the Roozen family, this 2nd generation farm started on five acres of land with William Roozen holding meetings in a garage and toiling long hours beside a few hired hands. Roozen worked for other farmers in the Skagit Valley, before setting off on his own in 1950. Five years later, he purchased the Washington Bulb Company, founded by two of the area's first bulb farmers, Joe Berger and Cornelius Roozekrans. They have since grown to be one of the largest tulip-bulb growers in the country, farming 2,000 acres of land, with 550 dedicated just to daffodils.
They are also one of the largest employers in the Skagit Valley, where the floral industry has become an important part of the county's economy. Closely tied to their community, they host photo contests of customer gardens, where the winning entry is used in their official Bulb Catalog, along with photo credit and a gift certificate. Each fall, the 3 acre show-garden is planted with around three hundred thousand spring-flowering bulbs, providing a gorgeous display of color during the early weeks of spring. Roozengaarde (Washington Bulb's retail store) is an official Sponsor of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival that runs for the month of April each year.
When it comes to a domestically grown daffodil, the team at Washington Bulb takes pride in their crops, and stand by their motto that "there is no substitute for quality." Whether you plan to enjoy them yourself or share a smile with others, these golden trumpets will surely impress as you bring home the best from the fields of Washington State!