Founder Henk Sikking started Pioneer Flower Farms in 1971, when he bought a farm in St. Catharines, Ontario. He now occupies the position of consultant while his sons Henk Jr and Peter and his daughter Anita run the company. It focuses mainly on forcing tulips, hyacinths, crocuses and muscari.
According to Sikking Sr, “We hatch about 3 million potted tulips, 95 million cut tulips, 5 million cut hyacinths, 1.5 million potted hyacinths, and then about half a million muscari and half a million crocuses.” In the summer months, the family business grows dahlias and sunflowers outdoors. In autumn, chrysanthemums and amaryllis are on the agenda. Its customers are in North America.
“We used to take our produce to auction,” says Sikking, “but about 25 years ago we started supplying supermarkets. It took about 10 years to build good relationships with them; you’re not in just like that. Now, we only deliver directly to the big retail chains.”