Fields of Tulips!
The tulips are amazing.
Our first full day on the AMAPrima river cruising has been a delight. It helps that we are blessed with perfect sunny, cool weather. We cruised through locks, rivers, and lakes on our way to the charming town of Hoorn where we began our countryside drive to a working tulip farm.
Although Hoorn dates from before the 17th century, it looks like it would be a textbook movie set. Rows of tidy homes and cottages, a harbor with every type of sailing vessel, and crowds of happy Easter celebrants filling the sidewalk cafes. I wanted to stay longer and have more time to explore. But, after all, we are here to see tulips – so off we went.
En route to the farm, we passed field upon field of brightly colored blooming tulips and dozens of the pointed, thatched-roof brick homes farming families have lived in for generations. Originally filled with hay in the center (ergo the high pointed roofs), they look as well-kept as if they were built in the last few years.
At the farm, we enjoyed a presentation by a fourth-generation farmer. Now armed with a four-year degree and an entrepreneurial spirit, one of the family’s sons has launched an agri-tourism business he dubbed “Mr. Tulip.” We learned about the different varieties (there are thousands), and the planting and harvesting process for the bulbs and flowering stems.
With 15 acres they produce 10 million bulbs and 1 million blooming stems annually. The flowers are sold at wholesale markets generally for distribution throughout Europe while the bulbs get shipped worldwide. Dormant fields are then swapped with other local farmers for use cattle grazing as the bulbs are planted in different fields nicely prepped by those same cattle.
Photos don’t do the expansive colors justice and the gentle breeze and lovely light fragrance added even more sensory enhancement. It was a beautiful day.
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