Argentina’s Peony Festival is unfolding its petals

TREVELIN, Argentina: Argentina’s second Peony Festival took place in Trevelin (Chubut) on December 16, 2018 to celebrate and publicise the beauty, variety and quality of Argentinian-grown peonies. The event was organised by peony grower Patagonia Flower in collaboration with the travel agency Meraki Sur and hosted at the luxury spa resort Estancia La Paz.

The Peony Festival provided an entertaining peony experience and a perfect opportunity to gain insight into the majestic cut flower. The core event consisted of a peony flower carpet competition among representatives of art schools, flower shops and event planning companies. Groups of three, from each competing organisation, vyed for the highest scores using peonies freshly picked from the surrounding fields the day before.

Over 30,000 peony flowers were used in the competition which created sumptuous peony arrangements throughout the resort’s buildings and gardens. Participants received gift vouchers for free accommodation in Estancia La Paz and meals at a variety of restaurants. Raffle prizes were also won and they included a jacket, organic strawberries, lunches, excursions, chocolate boxes, mountain adventures and, of course, peony plants. “The event brought together approximately 200 people, including guests from Chile, Jujuy, Bariloche and Buenos Aires, who visited especially for the peony festival,” says Griselda Boyraz of Meraki Sur.

Argentina’s Peony Festival is the brainchild of Martín Sasaki, a floriculture technician and peony crop manager at Patagonia Flower Group, who looks back on the event with satisfaction, ““We were well prepared for the festival and it ran very successfully. We will definitely continue this new tradition.”

The Patagonia Flower Group was founded in 2002 by florists Roberto Giudici, Susana Taira, Erick Millenaar and Marcelo Sasaki, as a response to the economic crisis which plagued the country at the time. The entrepreneurs were keen to start a peony export business but knew that commercialising the flower would be difficult due to logistical challenges. Martín Sasaki (Marcelo’s son) said they decided to enter the peony market because the attractive and romantic flower thrives perfectly in Patagonian fields and can also yield a good price.

The Patagonia Flower Group grows peonies in an area of over three hectares and the vast majority are harvested for domestic sale. The company is currently seeking new international market opportunities and, in December 2018, shipped its first batch of flowers to Holambra, Brazil.

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