News from Headstart Nursery, Inc.
October 2016

Nursery News

Stars of the Seed Industry

Lisa Branco is the Chair of the Industry Communications & Youth Activities Committee of the California Seed Association (CSA). She served as a guide on the seed industry tour in September, which took 42 students from five California colleges to visit nurseries and seed companies and learn more about careers in the seed industry.
This year the group toured Central Valley Seeds, Gowan Seed Co., Seed Dynamics Inc., American Takii Inc., Radicle Seed Company, and Headstart Nursery. These ag-minded students were energized and excited about the pursuit of a career in agriculture and learned about possible career paths that they had not yet considered.
Lisa plays a starring role in the recent CSA video of the event: A Day in the Life of the California Seed Industry. We think you’ll agree that she’s got a real future in show business!
Critics are also raving about Randy’s son Kevin Costa, who is in his third year studying Plant Science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Kevin did an outstanding job in this breakout role playing the curious and enthusiastic young college student.
Autographs are available upon request!

More CSA Seed Industry Events

In June, Lisa Branco, Chris Cornia, Thomas Costa, and Patrick Dossche (our summer intern) attended the 2016 Seed Industry Conference (SIC) in Modesto, CA.  This educational event is planned and coordinated by the California Seed Association (CSA) to provide key production and field employees of seed operations with an educational program consisting of both managerial and technical information specific to the industry. 

In September, the Radicle Seed team (Lisa Branco, Sergio Torres and Mike Trebino) attended the CSA Mid-Year Meeting in Monterey.  They attended several committee meetings as well as a keynote speaker presentation by Ashley Boren from Sustainable Conservation. Steve and Randy Costa joined the group just in time for cocktail hour (a.k.a. “networking time”).

Now Hiring: Seed Management Associate

Headstart Nursery has an immediate opening for a Seed Management Associate at our Gilroy, California facility.  We are seeking a motivated self-starter with the right mix of experience who will be interested in growing with the position.

This focus of this position will be to provide a liaison between Headstart Nursery and its customers, sales representatives, and management team. See the Employment page of our website for a full job description.

Cultivate '16 in Ohio

In July, Melissa Campilli and Thomas Costa traveled to Columbus, Ohio to attend Cultivate '16, the largest all-industry event in North America. This is really a one-stop shop for everything in the horticulture industry—from seeing new equipment and products to meeting with customers. There were many inspiring displays, a bustling trade show, educational programs, and networking events.

What's New in the Watermelon World?

In late August, the Headstart Nursery and Radicle Seed teams traveled to visit with seed producers (Sakata, Origene, US Agriseeds, Syngenta & Bayer) to evaluate their latest and greatest products, learn how they’ll hold up in the markets, and compare the new products to existing varieties.
We’re constantly looking for the best products for our customers and trialing products to bring the best to market for our customers first. We were especially excited about some of the new “mini” watermelon varieties coming down the pipeline.

Did you know? Headstart Nursery now offers grafted watermelon transplants, with the option to be grown and certified organic. If you are interested, please give us a call at 408-842-3030.

Minimum Wage Increases

Like many businesses in California, Headstart Nursery is having to raise prices due to recent minimum wage increases and changes to overtime laws. Please be assured that we are doing our best to make our processes as efficient as possible and keep costs low. We will continue to keep you informed of any changes in the future.

Holiday Poinsettias: Sold Out!

We keep growing more each year, but Headstart’s gorgeous red poinsettias continue to sell faster than ever! We’re technically already sold out for this year, but you can still call 408-842-3030 to get on a waiting list in case extra plants become available. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Headstart in the Community

  • In July, Headstart Nursery was a sponsor for two important community events: the California Rodeo in Salinas, and the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Both of these fun summer events draw thousands of visitors each year and have generated millions of dollars to benefit local schools, charities, and other non-profit organizations.
  • We had our team lined up and ready to run the Salinas Valley Half Marathon along the beautiful River Road wine trail on Saturday, August 6. Unfortunately, due to the unhealthy air quality from the Soberanes fire, we were unable to participate. Those signed up included William Medina, Elbert Sanchez, Chris Peck, Chris Cornia, Lorena Garcia, Jeanette Figueroa and Sheila Newton. Though we didn’t get to run, we did once again team up with Bayer and “Team Motivation” to raise money that went to support Motivation Freedom through Mobility and Monterey County Ag Education.
  • In August, the Headtart Nursery management team enjoyed wonderful company, camaraderie, and food at the home of Joe & Katie Aiello. Headstart was the winning bidder for the big ticket dinner at the 2015 annual Michael Aiello Memorial Scholarship fundraiser.  Those in attendance included Steve and Teresa Costa, Randy and Ann Costa, Chris Peck, Doug and Bonny Iten, Daniel and Kathleen Clerou, Helder and Sharon Faria, Grant and Suzie Cornia, and Chris Cornia.
  • Also in August, Chris Peck, Helder Faria, and Thomas Costa participated in the Bill Barker Memorial Golf Tournament put on by the Monterey County Farm Bureau (Chris Cornia was sick and didn’t get to play this year). Lisa Branco worked at registration greeting guests.
  • We need YOU! We're looking for volunteers to help at Farm Day on Thursday, November 3 at the California Rodeo grounds in Salinas. If you'd like to be a part of this great event, sign up online at the Monterey County Agricultural Education website.

All in the Family

Saying Goodbye to George

George Bartasi, the father of Teresa Costa and a longtime Headstart Nursery employee, passed away on July 1 at the age of 94. George was born in New York and served in the U.S. Navy for 21 years. He was at the D-Day invasion in Normandy and earned two Purple Heart awards.

After retiring from the Navy, George worked as a mechanical engineer at IBM for another 25 years. Retirement just really was not George’s style. He then came to work at a maintenance technician at Headstart Nursery for many years. George was a loving husband, father and grandfather, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Congratulations Grant and Suzie!

On October 1, Grant Cornia married Suzie Rizzi in a beautiful ceremony at Hecker Pass Winery in Gilroy. The two honeymooned in Hawaii.

They sure make a cute couple, don't they?

Jennifer and Jeff Celebrate 25 Years

Speaking of cute couples, here's a "selfie" of our Accounting Manager Jennifer Speno and her husband Jeff, who celebrated their 25th anniversary with a romantic trip to Paris. 

C'est la vie!

Welcome Gina and Pete!

In August, Gina Anderson (left) started working as Headstart’s new Risk Management and Human Resources Manager.  Gina was born and raised in Gilroy and previously served as the Assistant Executive Director for the Gilroy Foundation. She and her husband John spend most of their weekends cheering on their two baseball-loving sons, William and Matthew. She loves working for a family-oriented business like Headstart and is also an diehard Giants fan, so she fits right in!

Pete Perez (right) worked for many years for Abbott & Cobb and has recently joined the Headstart/Radicle team. He is well-known in the industry and very knowledgeable about products and growing practices. He will be based in the Central Valley but will travel throughout the western region.
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Our mailing address is:
4860 Monterey Road
Gilroy, CA  95020
(408) 842-3030