Even as a child Peter Hannaford was interested in plants. After studying at Somerset Agricultural College in the UK, Peter returned to his birthplace of Colombia to work for a dairy farm which also grew gladioli. Recognizing that the local Colombian market was saturated, Peter started wondering how he could export flowers to northern regions during their winter months.
His curiosity eventually lead him to co-found Jardines de los Andes, which today is the world’s largest grower of alstroemeria and one of the largest growers of chrysanthemums.
In 1991, now on his own, Peter planted a half hectare of Meilland rose varieties and another half hectare of various other origins under the name of Elite Flower. Soon after, Peter entered into an agreement with Rosen Tantau, a prestigious German breeder, to help them select the rose varieties that were best suited to be grown in Colombia and Ecuador. Today, Elite tests nearly 200 varieties each year of which only an average of 4 are brought to commercial production after 4 years. Appointed to run the daily operations of the company, along with sales and marketing, Peter’s son Juan Carlos has grown Elite’s market reach to all aspects of the floral industry including wholesale, mass-market and e-commerce. Now with additional growing operations located in Ecuador and Africa, Elite offers an ever expanding array of floral products including everything from traditional favorites to unique novelties.
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