PANTEGO, BEAUFORT COUNTY - The beautiful flowers purchased for Mother's Day get their start at Terra Ceia Farms in Beaufort County. The 250-acre plot of land doesn't have that many blooms, but it is still ready to be cut.
"If we don't cut them in the budding stage, then they're not going to be cut. I always tell people if they see blooms it's either a case of over-production or under-marketing," said Carl Van Staalduinen, part-owner of the family farm.
Crews work all day long cutting a crop of Peonies flowers looking for the buds that should have the longest vase life. The cut flowers are transported to a cooler. Then, each flower is categorized by stem length and moved to a conveyor belt.
"The machine is going to knife the stems so the bottom of the bunch is even. Then, it's going to put two elastic bands around the product," said Van Staalduinen.
Once the flowers are ready, they are put inside a trailer that can hold up to 1200 boxes. Then, they are taken to distributors.
"Mother's Day is busy just because it's one of the biggest flower holidays of the year," said Van Staalduinen.
This year's crop of Peonies is late because of North Carolina's recent cool temperatures. Now, crews are racing to beat the clock.
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