Freeze drying does not involve the use of any chemicals during the process and the resulting petals are bio-degradable. Freeze-drying is the only way that water can be successfully removed from an organic substance like flower petals without damage to the cell structure. The process of freeze drying is carried out in a custom made machine specially designed for the purpose.
Once the roses are at their peak of blooming we prepare them for drying. The fresh rose blooms are cut off and then placed on trays which slide into the specimen chamber of the freeze drier. The machine is started and rapidly freezes down to -50 degrees. There are actually two chambers to the design, a condenser chamber and a specimen chamber. Once the lower condenser chamber is at -50 the upper specimen chamber with the roses inside is frozen down to near to -40. This usually happens overnight and by the morning the temperature is monitored, using probes, to ensure the centre of the roses is at a temperature of -40.
Then the next stage commences. The vacuum pump is activated and the roses are sealed into the machine under very high vacuum conditions. The upper specimen chamber refrigeration (containing the roses) is then switched off and as the temperature slowly rises in the upper chamber the water in the rose petals is drawn off under vacuum, a process known as sublimation- and is collected again as ice in the lower chamber. The process requires a condensing surface that is at a lower temperature than the material being dried in the specimen chamber, for the vapour to migrate to. The vapour turns back to ice as it condenses on the colder surface (Kind of like when you stuck your lips on an ice cube as a kid.) and is not drawn into the vacuum pump. This whole drying process takes about two weeks to achieve a completely dry petal. When the cycle is drawing to the end we monitor the temperature in the centre of the roses to ensure there is no moisture left, which ensures the maximum shelf life for the petals.
When the door is opened we all peer in and have a look as usually we are trying different colours as well as the best sellers, so we all like to see how they have turned out- we get excited about our beautiful petals! The next stage is that each rose petal has to be removed carefully by hand. The roses are graded at this point for the first time so that any that do not meet are standards are filtered out. We then grade them again during the final packing process. Nothing is added to the roses during process and therefore they retain their natural beauty.
"I just wanted to let you know, everyone was commenting on the petals, they couldn’t get over how nice they looked scattered under the table arrangements, as if they had just dropped naturally from the roses in a country garden- just the look we wanted- thanks again for the great service"
Mrs C Hodge (was Dow)
"We had petals galore! The information on your website was very useful to help us order the right amount, thanks again"
"Thank you so much for helping me match the colour of the petals to my bouquet – Ivory Vendela were perfect"
"Just received the packages (of petals), thank you soooo much...
We'll definitely be using you again for future events"