Fellow Travellers

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Alasmeer Flower Market Sept 23 09

My parents and I got up in the wee hours of the morning to take a journey to see the Alasmeer Flower Market. A short 50 min bus ride (!) at 6:15 gets you there in time to see all the action. I have to thank my good friend Elizabeth Kerr for recommending the auction as a we all concurred it was worth getting up early.

The AFA is the largest flower auction in the world located in a massive warehouse space just outside of Amsterdam. The auction company, FloraHolland, has 13 auction rooms, 6 auction clocks and turns around 46 million flowers and plants per day!

The flowers arrive from the growers in the late evening each day and are auctioned live the following morning between 6 and 9 am. The glorious blooms travel on trollies past the bidders who use (whatelse) a Dutch auction system to procure the beauties. A Dutch auction is a type of auction where the auctioneer begins with a high asking price which is lowered until some participant is willing to accept the auctioneer's price. The bidders respresent customers ranging from the street corner vendor to the largest of export companies.

After they are bought they amass them in sections for each buyer and begin shipping out after 9 am. As the auction is located very near the airport they send many of the flowers overseas. In fact, I'll bet some of the flowers in you buy have been through the auction! The flowers may arrive the same day or the very next day at flower shops around the globe.

When you visit the AFA you walk above the action and can view the flowers being trollied around as well as peer in at the buyers. Buyers are now able to access the auction from anywhere in the globe as the AFA has online bidding available - amazing!

The colors were absolutely glorious and we all were amazed but the sheer number of blooms available on a daily basis. My parents and I spent over an hour enjoying the auction action and the flowers wizzing by on the train of trollies.

Our only comment - we really couldn't smell any floral fragrance. Do you think they sell it separately? :)'

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