Mother's Day at SF Flower Mart feels normal says vendors, shoppers

Last minute Mother's Day shoppers packed the San Francisco Flower Mart Sunday morning; it brought a different kind of sense of normalcy to vendors and shoppers.

It's usually considered the place to bail out those who haven't ordered their holiday flowers and this year was no different.

"It's easy," said Lisa Aponte, shopping with her husband for her mother in law.

"She's still in bed. We're hoping to get back before she wakes up."

The mart sells a variety of flowers from a variety of wholesalers.

"Everyone is looking for hydrangeas," said Raul Duanas, with Rafa's Wholesale Flowers. "There's no way to get it here."
That's because seeds for those flowers typically come from overseas, like Ecuador or Colombia. COVID-19 travel restrictions have made it difficult to access these plants.

That, however, seems to be the biggest challenge for these Bay Area vendors as a result of the pandemic. For the most part, Duanas says local shops have not experienced the shortages or up-charges as been reported throughout the rest of the country.

"It's been affected a little bit by the wedding people," he said. "Those are clients we were really missing, but little by little it's starting to come back."

With people shopping in person, masks required, it made the day feel like pre-pandemic times. Compared to last Mother's Day, Sunday morning felt normal, both at the mart and at home.

"A little bit more relief, less anxiety, lots more hugs," said Aponte. "We'll be able to spend more time together because we're all vaccinated now."

It's even given opportunities for some to open up their own flower shops, like Khadeejah Evans, who commutes from Sacramento to the mart.

"I think this is like my fourth day here this week," she said. "I had about 45 to 50 orders today."

The mart expects another rush of shoppers again Monday morning. They say traditionally, Bay Area residents from Latin America often celebrate Mother's Day on May 10th, regardless if it lands on a Sunday.