Wednesday, January 19

Kristofer (54) invests heavily in flowers

In Ulvik in the heart of Hardanger, Hjeltnes horticulture has delivered flowers for three generations. Now it is Kristofer F. Hjeltnes who is a gardener and general manager of the family business who is doing so well.

He says that in the last two years, turnover has increased by about 15 percent. Still, the wholesalers he delivers want more.

– It is probably the corona that makes people more at home and want to feel good around them, says Kristofer F. Hjeltnes.

Primula and pansies

When we meet him at home in Ulvik, he is waiting for a delivery of 400,000 pansies that will grow and be sold this spring. In the nursery there are already 200 thousand copies of the pot plate primula which is high season for now.

– It is clear that it is popular with green at the moment, says the gardener.

To meet the growing demand, he is in the process of investing NOK 11 million in what will be an additional 3,500 square meters of greenhouses during the winter. And that’s just the first part of the expansion.

– It means a lot in a small village like Ulvik with almost 1100 inhabitants where there are not many private jobs, says Hjeltnes.

Hjeltnes horticulture in Ulvik has for three generations delivered flowers to the whole country.  Photo: Geir Johnny Huneide / TV 2

Hjeltnes horticulture in Ulvik has for three generations delivered flowers to the whole country. Photo: Geir Johnny Huneide / TV 2

The industry is booming

The positive development of the nursery in Ulvik is not unique in flower Norway. A check with the largest wholesalers shows that this is a growing industry.

The flower ring, which is the country’s largest wholesaler for the sale of flowers and plants, states a turnover growth of 7 per cent per year from 2019 to 2021.

Master Green does not give figures, but confirms that these are good times.

– We have had a number of closed stores in parts of the pandemic. Nevertheless, we have had good growth, says Erling Ølstad, CEO of Mester Grønn.

Director of Mester Grønn, Erling Ølstad, believes that the high electricity and gas prices mean that we have to settle for smaller samples and higher prices throughout the winter and spring.  Photo: Martin Fønnebø / TV 2

Director of Mester Grønn, Erling Ølstad, believes that the high electricity and gas prices mean that we have to settle for smaller samples and higher prices throughout the winter and spring. Photo: Martin Fønnebø / TV 2

He says that the growth is clearly greatest in online shopping and that especially many older people now choose to have the goods live on the doorstep.

Expensive heating costs threaten

Although the flower industry is currently doing well, it is feared that high costs for heating with electricity and gas will have consequences for consumers in the future.

– Several nurseries are closed because you can not afford to fire. Over the spring, we will see that prices will rise and there will be a smaller breadth in the selection, says Ølstad in Mester Grønn.

Now it's high season for primroses.  In Hjeltnes garden center, there are 200,000 specimens that will be released during January and February.  Photo: Klaus Holthe / TV 2

Now it’s high season for primroses. In Hjeltnes garden center, there are 200,000 specimens that will be released during January and February. Photo: Klaus Holthe / TV 2

Hjeltnes Gartneri in Ulvik has so far been aware of the high electricity prices, but now they are also making an impact there.

– We had a long-term agreement that ensured reasonable electricity, but it unfortunately expires now in January so now it will be enormously much more expensive, says Kristofer F. Hjeltnes.

It was Avisa Hordaland who first told about the growth at Hjeltnes horticulture.

Careful optimist

He still has faith in both his own horticulture and the industry in the years to come.

– I do not think the increased interest in flowers and plants will disappear with the pandemic. These are uncertain times, but if energy prices do not hurt us, I look forward to the future, says the gardener from Ulvik.

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Reference-www.tv2.no

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