by Enio Bonchev

June 23, 2017

village of Tarnicheni, Bulgaria

Rose harvest is completely finished in Bulgaria. We are just now finalizing all the accompanying and so important post-harvest activities. Based on them we can provide in-depth information on the rose harvest, processing and final results. In the next few paragraphs we would like to share with you our evaluation of this year’s crop in general and the outcome of our production efforts in particular.

2017 rose crop in Bulgaria can be characterized as favorable, but also as quite dynamic and labored. The relative abundance of rose flowers was the favorable part of the equation, as it did not allow for a speculative increase of their price.

In a normal year different rose-growing regions blossom at different times in the harvest season. This year, however, the first buds in the early blossoming areas dried out in late April, mainly due to frost, and as a result, we had a later start of the crop with all rose fields from the different regions in the valley blossoming almost simultaneously. Rose harvest started in mid-May, followed by 25 extra intensive days during which the quantities of distilled rose flowers exceeded the average of a normal harvest (commonly a 40-45 days duration). Throughout this whole period all the distilleries were piled up with incoming flowers and were processing to the maximum of their capacities. The overload in flower processing usually happens for only 2-3 days during the peak of blossoming, whereas this year the “peak”, or the supply of excessive volumes of flowers, extended for a period of more than 10-15 days.

Another big challenge was the tremendous hardship with sourcing of labor force – the rose pickers. There was a huge competition for acquiring and further organizing the labor force properly in order to make the most out of the rose picking. A lot of farmers failed in this respect. All around the rose valley one could witness areas of unharvested rose fields where many rose flowers remained unpicked until noon. The lack of manpower forced farmers to increase the price for picking and extend the working day, with rose picking lagging in the late afternoon hours. This whole situation, in addition to the dynamic weather, contributed to the relatively lower content of essential oil inside the flowers and consequently to the worse production yields.

We, at Enio Bonchev, are glad to say that thanks to our experience and good organization managed to successfully go through this difficult harvest, thus producing and securing the pre-ordered quantities for our regular customers. The quality of our 2017 crop pure and 100% Natural Bulgarian Rose oils and floral waters is excellent. At the same time, unfortunately, there are many adulterated products on the international market, carrying the label “Bulgarian Rose oil”. We strongly advise that you verify the quality of all offered Rose oils not only through the standard GC-MS analysis but also perform additional tests proving authenticity and origin.

Finally, we are glad to announce a general trend of slight decrease and stabilization of the sales prices of rose essential oils and floral waters. This trend comes as a net result of the following factors:

▪  Approximately 15-20% decrease in the price of rose flowers

▪  20-25% on average increase in the quantity of distilled rose flowers
At this stage it is difficult to determine the true nature of this growth. We are unresolved as to what portion of this increase comes as a consequence of the favorable crop and what portion results from the newly planted rose fields over the last several years

▪  Overall 10% worse production yields

▪  Slight increase in the price of natural gas (power source of the distillation and processing at Enio Bonchev)

▪  Increase in labor cost by 25- 30% (qualified – seasonal workers in the distilleries and unqualified – rose pickers at the fields)
The labor cost increase came as a direct result of the intensity of the harvest and the general lack of qualified and unqualified work force, which has been a continuous problem with increasing importance over the years.

Our eyes are now turning on lavender. Visit us in July to read the Enio Bonchev’s 2017 Lavender Crop Report!

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