Over the past 18 years of managing the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, general manager Fred Clarke has seen some disappointing crop years caused by early rains, freezes, droughts, pests and wildfires. But nothing beats the pandemic in terms of its unique double-whammy last March.
Just over two weeks into its 2020 season last March, the 55-acre floral attraction was forced to close its gates to visitors. At the same time, all of the orders for the giant Tecolote ranunculus flowers that the farm cuts and ships east to wholesale distributors were canceled. Flower sales did eventually rebound, but to control expenses in the early weeks of the pandemic, Clarke mowed down the majority of the early crop to reduce water costs.