Expressing one's love to another is a celebrated custom on Valentine's Day; whereby sweethearts and family members present gifts to one another, such as cards, candy, flowers and other symbols of affection.
Opinions differ as to who was the original Valentine, but the most popular theory is that he was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome. In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius I declared Feb. 14 as Valentine Day. Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for selling the first mass-produced valentine cards in the 1840s. The spirit continues today with even young children exchanging valentine's cards with their fellow classmates.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 1,177 manufacturing establishments that produced and shipped $12.6 billion in chocolate and cocoa products in 2009, employing 34,252 people. California led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments with 135, followed by Pennsylvania with 111. Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2010 was 24.7 pounds.
The combined wholesale value of domestically produced cut flowers in 2010 for all flower-producing operations with $100,000 or more in sales was $375 million. Among states, California was the leading producer, alone accounting for more than three-quarters of this amount ($286 million).
The combined wholesale value of domestically produced cut roses in 2010 for all operations with $100,000 or more in sales was $17 million.