We adore rose season! Its peak happens in the end of May and the begining of June and the Valley of Roses in Bulgaria attracks more and more tourists every year during the rose festival celebrations. Fresh roses fragrance everywhere, incomparable natural scenery, warm welcoming from locals and the pleasure of picking fresh fragrant roses yourself. That’s real romance that we dive in every year.
Rose season is time of celebrations bul also time for hard 24/7 work. In few short weeks the roses magically blossom and all the yearly yield of Bulgarian oil-bearing roses must be picked up and processed fast. The campaign (that’s how the rose season including rose-picking and processing is called by the people occupied in the industry) this year started later than usual because of the long cold winter. On the other hand the rose blossoming, once started, was very dynamic thanks to the sunny and rainy weather conditions.
Of course we have decided to visit our partners in the Valley of Roses just during this time of year. And they gave us more than warm welcoming in the rose gardens where Rosey’s mark rose tea is coming from. Somewhere on the line between the villages Rozovo, Kanchevo and Razhena with lots of love and following the organic farming methods are grown the roses heading to your cup of rose tea. We all know that organic farming is good for us and our health but rarely we understand the reasons why is it different, more expensive and practiced by few.
First, organic plantations are not treated with fertilizers in qinatities and types of substances like conventional plantations are. This fact automatically leads to lower levels of yield.
Second, organic rose plantations are not treated with plant protection chemicals, so they are more exposed to pests and diseases. And please note that these flowers are really fragile and often attacked by different sorts of damages.
From the above two is clear that we get really clean natural product but in much less quantities from hectare compared to conventional farming.
Third, rose pickers receive higher wages for hand picking organic roses, simply because they face smaller yields. In other words, it’s faster to fill up a bag with roses than the same bag with organic roses. Good think that Svilen, the guy who grows our organic roses, loves challenges and finds very romantic the rose-picking business, so when the labour hand is insufficient he tirelessly walks across the rose bush lanes himself.
Then comes time for processing, which in our case consists in the best possible professional drying of the roses. Every person ever tried to dry the oil-bearing rose at home knows that it’s easier said than done. We need to keep rich colour and aroma, to preserve the contents of rose oil in the dried blossoms and thus obtain highest quality final product. In addition from behind the curtains, as Ivan who takes care of drying our roses told us, organic roses are the favorite place to be for all the insects out there. So the flowers need an extra treatement by hand in order to make sure that those little fellows stay out of our rose tea bags.
In conclusion, and far from giving detailed picture of the specific elements in organic rose farming, we now realize that behind every romentic (organic) story there are hidden challenges and difficulties we don’t think of at first. The good news is that all of us, together with our trusted partners in the Valley of Roses, we are equally persistent and willing to bring to happy ending what we have started. Or, better said, to bring to your table a happy cup of rose tea!