Bitterly-cold winter starts for a pair of hard-working brothers paid off in style when the family-run flower empire S&P Dominello won an unprecedented double at the Fresh Awards 2017 held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
Speaking to awards MC Chris Bath after winning a second straight gong for Flower Grower of the Year, ‘Queen of the Lilies’ Vicki Dominello was lavish in her praise for her Peats Ridge-based siblings Sam and Phil.
“I come to the market to sell these [the flowers] but it’s my brothers who work very, very hard on the farm,” an elated Vicki confides to Chris from the Sydney Markets in our exclusive video series with the award winners.
“They sometimes start at 5am in the summer to beat the heat, and in the winter it’s freezing; there is literally frost on the ground.
“The farm was absolutely thrilled to win two years in a row, we’re ecstatic.”
Although the third-generation growers are renowned for their coveted lisianthus and freesias, it’s the year-round liliums which set the Sydney Markets alight each time Vicki opens for business.
“They come from everywhere to get the length, the colour the quality, the longevity; everything that signifies the best of the best,” says Vicki.
So, what are her top tips for getting the best of the lilies that have wowed discerning flower fans since 1980?
1. Make sure they’re always in clean water with a half inch angle cut from the stem, says Vicki.
2. Don’t put them anywhere near a fruit bowl, or any kind of fruit for that matter. Vicki says the ethylene from fruit plays havoc with the longevity.
3. Did we mention the water? You can’t change that enough and re cut the stems on an angle to maximise the vase life.
The Sydney Markets Fresh Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in fresh fruit, vegetable and flower retailing and growing.
The awards also recognised a new category for bloggers and influencers to commemorate the difference they make in promoting fresh produce and flowers and local florists and greengrocer businesses to their online communities.
The Carousel is a proud sponsor of The Sydney Markets’ Fresh Awards.