The bouquets presented to the winners at the end of all three stages of the Tour de Yorkshire will not even have travelled as far as the cyclists have pedalled during that day.
Unlike the vast majority of cut flowers, which are imported from South America, Kenya, India and Holland, all these will have been grown within just a few miles of each day’s route.
The growers are all members of Flowers from the Farm Ltd, the national network of cut flower growers, and all run their own individual businesses while working together to promote British flowers and meeting together for occasional workshops.
Yorkshire and the North East boasts almost 40 growers, virtually all of whom have begun growing within the last four years. Gill Hodgson, who farms in Everingham, and who founded the organisation, said: “I set up the network after seeing how popular my flowers were when I took them to farmers’ markets. People were so pleased to find seasonal flowers for sale and to find varieties such as cosmos, dahlias, delphiniums and canterbury bells rarely, if ever, seen in the supermarkets. I realised that there was a great opportunity for anyone with half an acre, or even less, to grow seasonal flowers for their local market and I set up Flowers from the Farm as a not-for-profit co-operative. Our members sell flowers at markets, to florists, at farm shops, at the roadside and many sell direct to brides for wonderful weddings.”
For the cycle race, three separate groups of growers will make the winners’ bouquets. They will pick their flowers the previous evening, meet together to make the bouquets in the morning and then deliver the finished product to the finishing line.
Mrs Hodgson added: “You certainly couldn’t get fresher or more local.”