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BC  

Island already getting 'daffy'

As residents in parts of British Columbia dig out from recent heavy snowfalls and think fondly of spring, a farmer on southern Vancouver Island is cursing that region's mild weather and wishing for a cold snap.

Ryan Vantreight is the general manager of Longview Farms, Canada's largest daffodil farm, just north of Victoria.

Spring-like conditions have coaxed out some early blooms, and Vantreight said he's scrambling to hire about 20 workers to cut the still-budding flowers before they burst into their full golden glory.

"If you see yellow in the field, I'm seeing red," Vantreight said of the early season, which he describes as second only to a harvest several years ago that began in January.

"Cold is good for us right now because it will slow things down," he said. "What it does do is give us a little bit more even growth and gives us a little bit more chance to get them before they pop."

"Once they bloom, they are gone. We can't sell them," Vantreight said, adding customers want tight heads and tight bunches so the daffodils open in arrangements at home.

"It's always a race beyond time to try to get the flowers before they bloom and before they become unsellable."

The farm grows about three million daffodils a year and will hire more than 150 pickers by the height of the season.



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