News from Headstart Nursery, Inc.
February 2014
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Nursery News

Vegetable Transplants

Coming Soon: 2014 California Spring Trials

Yes, it’s already that time of year again! Be sure to make Headstart Nursery one of your stops during California Spring Trials, April 5-10, 2014. We are proud to partner with Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm to showcase some of the highest quality plants in the industry, including many exciting new varieties.
 
We will also have a wide selection of ornamental plugs, prefinished cyclamen, vegetative liners, and other product lines on display. You are more than welcome to drop in, or you can schedule a time to visit by contacting Melissa Campilli at Floral@HeadstartNursery.com. Reservations are recommended for large groups. Hope to see you soon!

New Faces

Please join us in welcoming two new members of the Headstart Nursery team:
JR Roth and Sergio Torres
Sergio Torres (on the right) joined our team as a seed and transplant sales representative in November 2013. Sergio brings years of experience in sales, customer service, and product development, and we are delighted to have him on our team.
 
In January, J.R. Roth (on the left) was hired as a Headstart Nursery field representative. J.R. is new to the transplant industry, but he has grown up surrounded by agriculture and is eager to learn our business. Although J.R. will be servicing the Salinas Valley primarily, he will also be traveling to different regions to gain experience and knowledge. J.R. enjoys spending time with family and friends, rooting for the Giants, 49ers, and Warriors, hiking around Big Sur and Arroyo Seco, and snowboarding – when there is snow, of course!

Headstart Keeps on Growing...

Organic celery transplants
To keep up with increased demand for organic transplants, Headstart Nursery recently certified an additional 11.8 acres of organic production space in Castroville, CA, bringing our nursery-wide total to almost 40 acres. Castroville’s unique coastal climate enables us to grow organic radicchio, leeks, Brussels sprouts, peppers, cauliflower and celery nearly year-round.  
Desert germ room expansion
Meanwhile, down at our Desert Sea facility in Mecca, crews have been pouring concrete to expand the germination room to a whopping 7,000 square feet. By the time you receive this newsletter, the expansion should be completed, providing the space we need to germinate more product in a carefully controlled environment. 

Where's Our Water?

As most of you know, California is entering its third year of drought, and Governor Jerry Brown recently declared a statewide drought emergency. Fortunately, we have good deep wells at all of our facilities and are not facing any immediate water concerns due to the drought. In general, transplant production uses much less water than direct seeding, and our overhead irrigation systems are very efficient.
 
However, the drought has already had a serious impact on many of our customers. Several growers have begun scaling back acreage, as water supplies have been severely limited or in some cases cut off completely. According to some estimates, up to half a million acres of California farmland may remain unplanted in the upcoming growing season.
 
We are grateful for the small storms that rolled through last week and hope there will be more wet stuff on the way soon!

2014 Cyclamen Trials a Colorful Success

Cyclamen expert Hans Gerritsen
Primula Paradiso Early Orange
Cyclamen and Primula Mixed Pot
Cyclamen Winfall Snowridge Wine
In January, Headstart Nursery hosted the 2014 Cyclamen Trials at our Castroville facility. With a little help from the unusually warm weather in December and January, our production crews had all the different breeds in full flower to provide a true evaluation trial. This is an excellent opportunity for bedding plant growers and retailers to check out the newest upcoming cyclamen varieties from the world’s top breeders, as well as other popular potted plant crops like gerbera and primula.
 
Headstart Nursery is the only company in North America to provide this valuable service to our customers and other industry cyclamen specialists. We offer the largest selection of colors and series in both plugs and pre-finished plants and ship throughout the U.S. and Canada. We anticipate another good season in 2014.  

Slow Season? What Slow Season?

This has been a very busy January and February around the nursery. In addition to all the peppers and watermelon we’re growing for the desert, the Headstart team has been attending industry events both near and far. 
  • Viva Las Vegas!
    On January 18, the Headstart Nursery Sales & Management team went to Las Vegas for the Western Watermelon Association’s annual convention. Steve Costa, Randy Costa, Mike Bushman, Lisa Branco, Doug Iten, Daniel Clerou, and Michael Cardenas all had the opportunity to connect with customers, seed producers, and leaders of the watermelon industry. The team always looks forward to attending this event, as the networking and experience are invaluable.
     
  • ASTA Conference
    Also in January, Michael Trebino and Sergio Torres represented Headstart Nursery and T&C Supplies at the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference in Monterey, CA. By staying on top of the latest seed developments and genetics, our sales representatives are able to offer our customers superior products and information.
     
  • CHP Training Program
    On February 4, Headstart Nursery hosted a California Highway Patrol Commercial Industry Education Program (CIEP) at our Gilroy headquarters. Topics included rules of the road and driver safety tips, pre-trip inspection and required documentation, controlled substances and alcohol testing requirements, BIT and maintenance inspections, and more. Participants included class A & C drivers, maintenance crews, and record-keeping staff. We utilized our videoconferencing setup so employees at the other Headstart facilities could also participate.
     
  • Farm Day in Salinas
    At the Salinas Farm Day on February 6, Lisa Branco had a great time escorting a lively group of curious third graders and introducing them to all aspects of agriculture. This included petting ponies and chickens, learning about fertilizer and compost, climbing on tractors, practicing seeding in a straight line, and much more. More than 3,000 local elementary school children participated in this annual hands-on educational event, which is sponsored by Monterey County Agricultural Education. It’s a fun way to give back to the community and inspire the next generation of farmers!

Extras, Extras!

If you missed your seeding window, have some extra ground, or just want to try out some different varieties, be sure to check Headstart Nursery’s online availability listings. We update our ornamental availability lists each week and now also offer even more crops, including organic transplants, on our vegetable availability list. Check in throughout the season to see what’s available!
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