Today is Mother’s Day in France. For the last week huge buckets of bouquets have literally spilled out of florist shops onto the Parisian sidewalks, filling the air with a glorious melange of perfumes and obliging passers-by to make detours around the beautiful bounty.
In the “big” town next to ours (population approximately 1600) where we do our shopping, including Babette’s boutique, there are four florists all offering the most gorgeous bouquets and varieties of blooms. One in particular constructs breathtaking arrangements of remarkable creativity.
A recent news report told us that 15 percent of all flower sales come from Mother’s Day gifts, which includes some 35 million roses. One producer of stunning orchids sells at least 10,000 plants to florists every fête des Mères.
“It’s like Noël for us,” one florist said.
However, to the chagrin of most producers, 85 percent of all the flowers sold in France come from Holland. To combat the competition, a new label, Fleur de France, is trying to appeal to the commercial patriotism of French florists by encouraging them to buy from producers of homegrown crops.
“It will take time,” one producer acknowledged, “but I am already seeing florists looking for small French growers when they come to the flower market.”