A Journey Through the Beautiful Flower Fields of France & Italy

Inside Hoek

10 min

Inside Hoek

10 July 2023

by Lianne

Anemone Eucalyptus Ranunculus Flower friends How to join

Drive along the coast of France's Cote d'Azur & Italy's Riviera dei Fiori, a romantic destination. See Monaco harbour & snowy mountains, feel the warm January sun. Italian tunes play, inspiring dreams of sunsets, olives, & red wine. On your way to San Remo for stunning Ranunculus fields.

Through the flowers fields

A florists’ dream... that’s how some of our 24 florists travelling with us described visiting the flower fields of both France and Italy. Tuesday evening January 17th, the Hoek team waited for the first group of florists at Nice airport. As soon as the 12 smiling faces exited the gate, hugs and laughs were shared and once all carry-ons were ‘Tetrissed’ in the back of the two vans, we were ready to start our adventure.

The Pellegrino family

Day one started with a visit to the flower auction in Hyères. Similar to Holland, local growers do bring their products here to be auctioned. An impressive assortment is being presented: French tulips,  Mimosa,  Ranunculus, Anemone and many more. After a local lunch we paid a visit to the amazing Anemone farm owned by the family: Pellegrino. Due to the weather (it was a bit cloudy and rainy the weeks before) there were not many Anemones blooming. But that didn’t stop the grower from showing us the whole growing process from A – Z. The passion which they grow their products with is contagious. Many questions were asked and answered, the family dog non-stop petted and with lots of info about Anemone we were ready to hit the road again. On our way to an exciting afternoon…

Views & Adventures

How do you fit 12 florists and 4 Hoek team members in two offroad vehicles? The lovely 81-year-old Eucalyptus grower Richard Oggero has the solution: the cargo beds of his two 1984 Toyota pickup trucks. On a normal day they still ‘serve’ as transportation for the Eucalyptus, from the field to the post-harvest. Today they took us all the way up the mountain to enjoy some incredible views and to learn about the hard work that goes into growing and maintaining an Eucalyptus farm. It was a bumpy, interesting, but most of all: a fun ride! With an adrenaline rush in our veins, we continued our way to the Italian border, where red wines, seafood and pasta awaited us.

Farms with a view

After seeing the sun coming up in Arma di Taggia and having an Italian style breakfast served by the lovely hotel owner Albergo, we started the day visiting the impressive Ranunculus farm of the Parodi family. Getting there, and to all the other farms in San Remo, it quit a challenge with a 9-person minivan. Breathtaking views, but small and steep hills which require an experienced driver. Thankfully our own Frank made some extra money as a taxi driver during his glorious student days and Arjan basically grew up in the San Remo area. Conclusion: we felt (pretty) safe. The two Parodi brothers and their dad were already awaiting us. Ready to proudly present us their gorgeous farm and even more beautiful products. The work that the Parodi family puts into growing such an incredible product is impressive.

“It couldn't be more perfect!”

Preparing the soil half a year in advance to have 5 months of production. Buying new bulbs every year and growing their crop with such love and passion. It’s something you appreciate even more when seeing with your own eyes. After the visit, they took us out for an incredible lunch and some shots of Limoncello for good digestion. Last stop for that day: the Poppy farm of the lovely couple: Paola & Stephano. The sun was already sinking into the ocean and the golden hour on its way. Walking at their farm, which is built against the slope of a mountain, and seeing the poppies growing their heads towards the sun is something else... After a quiet moment we continued the farm tour, which ended with Prosecco and a home-made treat. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

Flower friends

What a trip! Two incredible groups of people and a countless number of memories. It keeps fascinating us how the love for flowers and floristry connects. How it connects growers with florists, florists with wholesalers, and how it connects us as people. Because flower people are an unique and beautiful kind. And we as Hoek feel so honored to work among all these amazing individuals and to be able to bring you together once in a while. To see you sharing your creativity and passion with each other. And this trip? This trip made us ‘forever flower friends’.

How to join next year?

One of your benefits as a Hoek Exclusive Diamond or Royal member is that you get invited for unique flower trips, such as our annual ‘Italy trip’. In October 2022 we reached out to our Diamond and Royal members with over 65.000 points. That’s how this year’s group was composed. Would you like to join us next year? Sign up at Hoek Exclusive and start saving points.

Hoek Exclusive

A special thanks to

  • Tie the Knot Weddings
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Petals and Pressies
  • Daisy Chain Florists
  • Your London Florist
  • Pinstripes and Peonies
  • The Rosehip & Berry
  • Jackies Florist
  • The Flower Factory
  • The Garden of Edenmore

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