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caption: A bouquet from See Lee Farm
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A bouquet from See Lee Farm
Credit: Courtesy of See Lee

Local flower farmers struggling to survive coronavirus shutdown

Farmers markets are slowly returning, but in a limited way. Only food farmers and producers will be selling. Flower farmers, will not. Yet, they’re one of the hardest hit businesses by the coronavirus shutdown.

The shutdown comes at a time when flowers are blooming.

“Right now we’re harvesting tulips,” says See Lee, a grower who sells bouquets at Pike Place Market. But with the shutdown, only businesses deemed essential are allowed to stay open.

Lee says business has plummeted by 90% amid the pandemic. For her, selling flowers online is a logistical headache. For most growers, it’s impossible.

“They’re older and they don’t have high tech, they don’t have computers, they don’t know what a website is.”

She says they don’t qualify for any of the federal loans available to businesses because their operation is too small.

Lee says she understands that flowers are not essential, but it helps bring cheer. She hopes the city will reach out to find ways to allow them to safely sell them at markets.