Millions of flowers are expected to arrive at Miami's International Airport for Valentine's Day, the "Super Bowl" for flower importers in the U.S. and growers in Latin America. UPS alone estimates that in the 20 days leading up to V-Day, it processes more than 3,000 tons of flowers, three times the normal amount during off-season.
Most of the flowers arrive from Colombia and Ecuador, in a process that takes between 5-8 days.
Here's how it works.
Photo: Carolina Garcia
The flower is cut from a farm in Colombia. It's processed, selected and put in boxes.
Flowers are shipped to Miami's International Airport, point of entry for 87% of the flowers that are sold in the U.S.
Flowers are stored in coolers and then passed through customs inspection.
Flowers are picked up by flower importers and taken to their own warehouses where they are processed. Temperature at these warehouses is 36 F to keep the flowers fresh. This is the Proflowers warehouse in Doral, Florida, a few miles away from the international airport.
Flowers are shipped to customers and delivered overnight.