Rambling rose.What began as a college friendship in Mississippi has blossomed into a thriving agricultural business based in South America South America, fourth largest continent (1991 est. pop. 299,150,000), c.6,880,000 sq mi (17,819,000 sq km), the southern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. but scattering seeds around the world.
John Parrish John Henry Parrish (born November 26, 1977 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania) is a relief pitcher who currently plays for the Seattle Mariners. He was traded to the Mariners on August 9, 2007 from the Baltimore Orioles, the team that he had been with since the beginning of his career, in of Jackson met Pedro Romo-Leroux when the two were students at Mississippi State University Mississippi State University, at Mississippi State, near Starkville; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1878 as an agricultural and mechanical college, opened 1880. From 1932 to 1958 it was known as Mississippi State College. during the 1960s. "The last two years we were there, he and I lived next door to each other in married-student housing," Parrish says. "We all got to be friends. He and his wife would go home with us over the holidays."
Home for Pedro and his wife was Quito, Ecuador. After graduation, the couple returned to their native country with their family, and John set out to apply his industrial engineering degree to a career in the construction field, eventually owning his own company.
The two college friends, so many miles away after graduation, managed to keep in touch over the years, and one day in 1992, John received a phone call that led to a promising new partnership. "He said, 'Hey John, this is Pedro. We'd like to come visit in a few weeks,'" Parrish says. "It happened that my son and his son were both at MSU MSU Michigan State University
MSU Mississippi State University
MSU Montana State University
MSU Minnesota State University
MSU Morehead State University (Kentycky)
MSU Montclair State University also. They shared an apartment the last two years of college."
John had just closed down his construction business and was seeking other opportunities. Pedro, whose son was majoring in agricultural sciences Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field that encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic and social sciences that are used in the practice and understanding of agriculture. (Veterinary science, but not animal science, is often excluded from the definition. , began talking about the business opportunities in Ecuador. "He indicated that the flower business, especially the rose business, was emerging down there," Parrish says.
The combination of equatorial equatorial /equa·to·ri·al/ (e?kwah-tor´e-al)
1. pertaining to an equator.
2. occurring at the same distance from each extremity of an axis. light 12 hours per day and the 9,000-foot elevations that kept temperatures stable throughout the year made the land ideal for large-scale agricultural production, Pedro told his friend. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Ecuador Trade Ministry, some 250 species of flowers are grown in the country for domestic use and export. Nearly two-thirds of the flowers Ecuador exports are roses, with around 1 billion being produced per year, a figure surpassed in Latin America Latin America, the Spanish-speaking, Portuguese-speaking, and French-speaking countries (except Canada) of North America, South America, Central America, and the West Indies. only by Colombia.
John agreed that the rose industry sounded like an intriguing business opportunity, and he and Pedro were soon off and growing, with a company they called "BioVeget." For the Mississippian, there was much to learn in order to create a successful company.
"Production roses for florist shops are a little different from the ones you grow at your house," John says. Roses prepared for the florist trade are hardier, with longer and thicker stems, larger blooms, and more time spent hybridizing, he notes.
According to the Ecuadorian Central Bank, the main markets for Ecuadorian flowers include the Russian Federation Russian Federation: see Russia. and Europe. In South America, Argentina and Brazil dominate the demand for Ecuador's roses. But the biggest buyer by far is the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , whose wholesalers purchase more than 14,000 tons of Ecuadorian blossoms each year.
John and Pedro established their rose farm 75 miles southeast of Quito in 1997, along with a plant cloning lab run by Pedro, Jr. The lab allows the company to duplicate certain rose varieties without the plants having to undergo typical propagation The transmission (spreading) of signals from one place to another. processes.
"We can produce out of that lab about 25,000 plants per week," John says. "They're very small--in test tubes. We're the only flower growers in the country with a culture tissue lab."
Since they began shipping roses in 1998, the farm has grown from 7 to 40 acres and now employs some 200 people in Ecuador. The company ships more than 600,000 roses per week under the "Highlander" and "BioVeget" labels, and John counts 10 large flower wholesalers in Miami among his customers.
John's team also uses the lab to develop its own varieties of roses, he says. They add new styles and colors of roses every year, such as the now-popular "Highlander Gold" and "Highlander White." "We do several varieties--close to 40," John says.
After they hybridize hy·brid·ize
intr. & tr.v. hy·brid·ized, hy·brid·iz·ing, hy·brid·iz·es
1. To produce or cause to produce hybrids; crossbreed.
2. a new variety, Parrish's company has exclusive rights over it for several years. If it performs and sells well, the firm then licenses it to other growers.
John's and Pedro, Sr.'s roles in the company are more limited now that both are in their 60s. Today, the two mainly participate in management duties. John handles quality control matters and customer relations for the company's American customers.
It's not a business that John ever envisioned himself in, but he says he has enjoyed watching the market grow throughout the past decade. With more than 140 million roses being sold in the United States during May for Mother's Day, there's a good chance that you've sent someone you love roses from Ecuador-with a little Mississippi flair.