Nakuru lies in the heart of the Great Rift Valley. At one end of the town is Lake Nakuru, a soda lake that is globally famed for its massive flocks of colorful flamingoes. The town is located about 3 hours drive from Nairobi and an hour's drive from Naivasha. It is to this town that we accompany Sally Roberts (Sales Manager for Olij Kenya Breeding Ltd) on a tour to two well established cut-rose growers who have Olij and Jan Spek varieties under production. We visit Winchester 2 Farm and Florenza Farm.
Our first stop is Winchester 2 farm, located 2,100m asl in Bahati area of Nakuru County. Winchester 2 is the newest venture by mZurrie flowers, which also has under it's portfolio; Winchester Farm in Karen Nairobi, Maji Mazuri Flowers in Eldoret and Molo River Roses in Nakuru. Situated 10kms from the equator crossing, Winchester 2 sits at a vantage location that enables them realize good production and quality roses.
Olij’s orange rose Espana is grown here on 1ha and sold through the auction in Holland. According to Joseph, a manager at the farm, Winchester 2 has had a great run with the rose which is in its fourth month of production. He says they get a production average of 140 and an average stemlength of 60cm. Espana has a unique color with a nice contrast between dark orange on the outside and lighter orange in the center.
Winchester 2 has Jan Spek Rozen's red rose Monte Carlo under 1ha. Not only does Monte Carlo grow long stems and realize good production; the rose is also well established in the global rose market among the premium reds. Although they still maintain a steady supply of the rose to the Auction, Joseph says the farm looks forward to even better perfomance during the peak seasons of xmas and Valentines when demand for red roses is at it's highest.
With a proven knack for producing good standard roses for the direct market, the 16ha Florenza farm has done its best in balancing quality and numbers with a wide range of different colored roses. Florenza is located at an altitude of 1,750 and is part of the larger Mega Spin Group which also runs Roseto Farm in Rongai and Sierra Flora Limited in Elburgon. The latter two are at higher altitude and grow T hybrids and spray roses.
Yogeesh Basavarajappa, the farm manager at Florenza is excited at how well the rose Sombrero from Jan Spek is performing at the farm. Currently production for Sombrero is at an average 200 and above. The rose is grown under two and a half hactares at the farm.
Since May this year, Yogeesh confirms that the rose variety Orange Party has realized good production at Florenza averaging above 210. Apart from good production, the rose has a bright orange color and good stem length. With it's production and trade attributes, this internediate rose is perfect for the direct market.