Encinitas Flower Capital of the World
We’ll it once was as a growing booming little beach town but no so much anymore. But does it have flower fields, absolutely and when they are blooming and you are on the coast driving up Hwy 101 by the ocean it is simple beautiful. The beautiful rows of of flowers that are all the colors of the rainbow. This image shall never be removed from your mind.
Also Paul Ecke’s poinsettia ranch although much smaller now but it is still an amazing site to visit. Here is what one report writes about the flowers in there.
Where have all the flowers gone?
That’s a question some might ask as Encinitas slowly but surely loses a grip on its longtime claim as the “Flower Capital of the World.”
In part, the city has become a victim of its own success. As one of the more desirable and relatively affordable places to live in San Diego County, housing tracts have been the pre-eminent cash crop over the past two decades. High water prices, restrictions brought on by droughts, and competition from flower farms in Central and South America haven’t helped matters.
“We still have some mom and pop greenhouses, but they’re going by the wayside,” said Bob Gattinella, president and CEO of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce.
Roughly 12,000 acres in the city are still dedicated farmland, with an unspecified majority of that land devoted to nursery and greenhouse operations, according to the city’s most recent farmland inventory report.
The trend in Encinitas and the rest of the county has seen farmers and growers moving toward smaller acreages for operations, the report said, because of the high cost of land and water.
“This encourages growers to produce commodities with a very high value per acre and/or specialize in nursery and greenhouse crops,” the report stated.
The report points out that small-scale operations are more compatible in and near residential areas because they have fewer impacts: they don’t require a lot of large machinery, don’t spray billowing clouds of pesticides on vast open fields and they create relatively little dust and odor.
“What this means for the future of agriculture in Encinitas is that future conversion of the
remaining agricultural lands (to real estate development) is not necessarily a foregone conclusion,” the report said.
Encinitas has called itself the Flower Capital of the World since the 1920s. The industry probably saw its peak in the 1970s and ‘80s, when the Ecke family was still operating a 945-acre poinsettia ranch. Real estate investors started nibbling away at the ranch over the years, and the approval of the Encinitas Ranch residential and commercial development in 1994 resulted in the loss of 850 acres of flower fields.
In 2012, Paul Ecke III sold the last remaining chunk of ranch property – about 67 acres – to the Leichtag Foundation. The actual flower growing operation itself was sold to the Agribio Group of Holland the same year. Last year, Agribio merged with German poinsettia breeder Dummen, which is leasing 380,000 square feet of greenhouse space from Leichtag for poinsettia research and development under the Ecke brand name.
That means of the 945 acres once in production at the peak, less than 10 percent is still dedicated to poinsettias.
Nevertheless Encinitas is one beautiful place to visit and see the flowers that are show cased all around town on Hwy 101.