daffodils in vase on tableEvery April, the Canadian Cancer Society holds their annual daffodil campaign to honour Canadians who have been affected by cancer and to raise money in support of research, education, advocacy, and care initiatives. During Daffodil Month, millions of daffodils are distributed to Canadian Cancer Society volunteers for sale through grocery stores and other retail outlets.

Have you ever wondered where all these daffodils come from and how they get here? Behind the daffodil campaign are months of logistics and freight planning to ensure the flowers arrive in cities and towns across Canada in time for Daffodil Month.

Logistics Planning

Blossoming on kitchen tables and desks across Canada, you might be surprised to learn that the journey of many of these daffodils begins in the United Kingdom, the world’s largest producer of daffodils, where the Canadian Cancer Society has a long-standing relationship with a grower. As the flowers are planted and begin to grow, logistics planning for transportation and distribution is well underway. Highly perishable, the daffodils must be shipped from a farm in the UK, across the Atlantic Ocean, and distributed throughout cities and towns in Canada within a time frame of approximately 24-48 hours.

Travelling thousands of miles, the transportation of perishable products, such as fresh-cut flowers, requires the establishment of a “cold chain” – a continuous, temperature-controlled shipping and storage supply chain that preserves the flowers until they reach their final destination. In the case of the daffodils, multiple cold chain transport modes and storage facilities are required.

Harvesting & Shipping

daffodils in boxes at logistics warehouse awaiting distribution to retail outletsThe journey begins with the harvesting of the daffodils by the grower in the UK. After the flowers are cut, they are pre-chilled to prevent bloom and packed before being shipped via refrigerated truck to Heathrow Airport and loaded onto direct flights to major Canadian hubs (e.g. Montreal, Halifax, etc.). As temperature control is critical when moving perishables, data loggers are used to monitor and control temperatures to keep the daffodils between 1-3 degrees Celsius while in transit.

Upon arrival to Canada, the flowers are cleared through Canadian customs and offloaded into refrigerated trucks destined to dedicated storage facilities within each Province. From these facilities, the daffodils are distributed to volunteers, corporate clients, and retail locations for public purchase.

2018 Daffodil Campaign

In 2018, PF Collins collaborated with the Canadian Cancer Society and our network of agents and carriers to successfully import and distribute 3.1 million daffodils throughout 7 provinces, including Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Visit the Canadian Cancer Society online to learn more about the Daffodil Campaign and other ways to join in the fight against cancer.