“Earth laughs in flowers”*…
The promise of gold, oil and king crab has lured fortune seekers to Alaska for decades. But Alaska’s newest profit-making industry stems from a most unusual source: flowers. Specifically, peonies — the kind that people will delay weddings over.
To date, over 100,000 roots have been planted in the state, and because peonies take years to mature, the industry is poised for steep growth. The projected harvest in 2017 is over 1 million stems, which could bring in somewhere between $4 to $5 million in sales. Still, this is a drop in the bucket compared to worldwide peony sales — Holland alone can sell over 30 million stems in a single month. But the northernmost state in the U.S. has one advantage over all other markets.
Alaska, it turns out, is one of the few places on Earth where peonies bloom in July…
A blooming bonanza, or another Tulip Mania in the making? Find out at “From Fish to Flowers– Is Peony Farming Alaska’s Next Gold Rush?”
* Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Hamatreya”
As we take our pick, we might send pleasantly-cool birthday greetings to John Gorrie; he was born on this date in 1803. As a young physician, Gorrie found himself in Apalachicola, Florida, where he cared for folks suffering from malaria. Noting that people in colder climes rarely got the disease, he (illogically, but correctly) concluded that ice– more generally, cold– would help treat his patients’ fever. He first suspended ice in basins above his patients to cool the air around them. Later, he built a small steam engine to drive a piston in a cylinder immersed in brine. The piston first compressed the air, and then on the second stroke, when the air expanded, it drew heat from the brine. The chilled brine was used to cool air or make ice. He was granted the first U.S. Patent for mechanical refrigeration (No. 8080) on May 1851. Dr. Gorrie’s statue stands in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.