Cordell Klippenstein, originally from Manitoba, has been picking daffodils at Longview Farms in Central Saanich for two years. (Steven Heywood/News Staff)

Daffodils’ early arrival has Central Saanich Farm scrambling for pickers

Warm weather has flowers blooming early

Flowers don’t know that there aren’t enough people to pick them out of thousands; all they know is what Mother Nature tells them.

And right now, they’re being told to bloom.

That has Central Saanich’s Longview Farms scrambling to find enough pickers to keep up. Ryan Vantreight, the farm’s general manager, says the recent spate of warmer, wet weather has caused their daffodil bulbs to start blooming a lot earlier than expected. That means they have fewer workers available to harvest them — so the farm is putting out the call for more pickers.

“We’re not losing anything yet,” he said of the ongoing harvest. “Usually we have lots of people working or on a waiting list for call outs … but that list isn’t large right now.”

That’s because there is usually a late season cold snap in the region that keeps the daffodils underground. That hasn’t happened and now the farm is reacting to the daffodils’ timetable. So, the farm needs workers to keep up as the flowers emerge, ensuring they have enough supply on hand to meetcustomer demand. If the flowers aren’t picked when they’re ready, a crop can be lost.

“Right now, we can put people to work as soon as possible,” Vantreight said. “We’ve been flat out the last couple days.”

The farm has advertisements for pickers on buses, on billboards and Vantreight said he’s reaching out to his friends in the media to help get the word out. Longview Farms is looking for around 20 workers right now — and plenty more as their harvest season picks up this spring. Interested workers can visit daffodil.com or call their hotline at 250-652-1131 to find out more.

Longview Farms is Canada’s largest daffodil producer. Vantreight said they’re on track to harvest around three million daffodils this season. That’s actually down from their typical harvest of between seven and nine million flowers, as the farm has been replacing its bulb stock to make better use of their fields in the years to come.

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