The prolonged closure of churches, the cancellation of weddings, quinceañeras, and first communions due to Covid-19, has some nurseries in Pescadero about to close.
The Westland Nursery in Pescadero had about 70 employees last year; the business began to decline slowly before the pandemic from competition with imported flowers, but after the two and a half month shelter-in-place the decline has left it on the brink of closing.
When the nursery reopened in May, it was only able to hire ten of its employees and for fewer hours a day.
The greenhouses look desolate, without a single cultivated plant, much less flowers, with outdoor fields covered with weeds.
On one of the farms there is a small parcel of Amor en la Niebla (Nigella) and on another of the company’s farms there is a small parcel of lilies. These two parcels were cultivated in May upon return from quarantine.
As if the damage caused by the quarantine closure were not enough, the new plantations were about to be lost with the August fires near the coast.
Westland Nursery workers as well as many residents of Pescadero, La Honda, and San Gregorio were evacuated.
Nursery employees were allowed to work a few hours so that they would not lose the little production that means the sustenance of four families.
Jorge Guzmán, a Westland Nursery worker and catechist at Mission San Antonio in Pescadero who has worked for this nursery for 43 years, told Catholic San Francisco that he does not know if the owner will be able to continue with the business.
The little they have planted after the quarantine is barely sold because the San Francisco flower market isn’t buying from them like it used to, he said.
Guzmán affirmed that the closing of the churches is one of the reasons why the flowers are not being sold.
Lucy Michel, the florist who designs the flower arrangements for St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco and St. Charles Borromeo parish, agreed that Catholic churches and events require a lot of flowers.
During the quarantine, Michel’s business completely stopped. She had contracts to do the floral decorations for six weddings during the spring and summer of 2020 but were canceled. The clients moved the weddings for the next year….