News from Headstart Nursery, Inc.
November 2017
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Nursery News

Checking Out What's New at Summer Field Trials

The Headstart Nursery and Radicle Seed teams are always striving to stay on top of the latest industry trends and varieties coming onto the market. In August, our reps traveled to Salinas and Woodland area meetings with seed producers to evaluate their latest products. We visited Sakata, Syngenta, Seeds By Design, Bayer and US Agriseeds. 

Tap Into PlantTape Technology

Headstart Nursery is the premier propagator of PlantTape crops for California and Arizona. After Tanimura & Antle’s PlantTape open house this summer, we’ve found that many growers are eager to try this exciting new technology.
The PlantTape sowing line places seeds into a growing medium that is sandwiched between two layers of biodegradable tissue, then packed in zigzag formation into plastic trays. Each tray typically contains about 900 plants. After germination, the seedlings develop normally in the plant pockets of the tape.
The plants can be transplanted at any stage of development, from a few days after germination up to a full-grown seedling plant. In the field, trays are loaded onto a transplanting machine, and the automated planting module pulls the tape from the tray and accurately places the plants in the soil.
PlantTape benefits for the grower include less seed waste, greater speed of transplanting, and dramatically reduced labor costs. Crops such as lettuce, romaine, broccoli, cauliflower, leek and tomato are all excellent candidates for PlantTape.
If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Production Manager Grant Cornia or visit

Bah Humbug! Poinsettias Already Sold Out for 2017

Hope you all got your orders in early! We sold our our poinsettias in mid-October, even after increasing production to more than 86,000 pots this year.

We'll start delivering poinsettias at the end of this month. Hope your holidays are very merry!

Staying Connected

Networking in the Midwest

  • In July, Melissa Campilli represented Headstart Nursery at Cultivate, the ornamental industry’s premier event for business, networking, professional development, trends, industry research and business growth. 
  • Also In July, Jim Browne, Jennifer Speno, and Chris Cornia traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan for the Innovation Software Solutions users’ conference. They were able to learn what’s coming next with Picas, brainstorm with fellow users, and get hands-on system training.

Tee Time at the Bill Barker Golf Tournament

In August, Thomas CostaChris Peck, Kyle Costa, Chris Cornia (pictured below) and Mike Trebino participated in the Monterey County Farm Bureau's Bill Barker Memorial Golf Tournament, held at Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Courses in Seaside. Melissa Campilli and Lisa Branco were also there to greet the players and assist with registration. 

International Seed Industry Conference

The International Society for Seed Science is a professional society dedicated to fostering and promoting research, education, and communication in the scientific understanding of seeds. At the September ISSS conference in Monterey, attendees took tours of local ag companies, including Headstart Nursery.
Students were also in attendance and had the opportunity to meet with potential employers. The California Seed Association launched “Careers in the CA Seed Industry” in hopes of bringing awareness of careers available in the seed industry.

CSA Fall Seed Tour

The California Seed Association (CSA) Fall Seed Tour for students took place in September, with 40 students and 4 advisors representing six California colleges: CSU Fresno, CSU Chico, UC Davis, Cal Poly Pomona, Hartnell College and Woodland Community College. This annual trip takes the students on a bus tour to visit seed companies so students can be introduced to the various aspects of the seed industry.
Chair Lisa Branco and Vice Chair Matt Linder accompanied the students to five facilities including HM Clause, Monsanto, Sakata Seed America, Alforex Seeds, and NuSeed. All the companies did a fantastic job giving the students helpful information about the many career paths available in the seed business. Students were able to meet many of the tour hosts the night before for dinner and fellowship.          
There were also opportunities for the students to visit with CSA members and ask questions. At the end of the tour, the students were briefed on the opportunities for internships at the member companies as well as at the California Seed Association and were reminded that scholarship opportunities are available at many companies and groups in agriculture.
It was great to meet with ag-minded students on the tour who were energized and excited about pursuing a career in agriculture!

CSA Mid-Year Meeting

Also in September, representatives from Headstart Nursery and Radicle Seed attended the California Seed Association mid-year meeting in Monterey. The keynote speakers were from Caribou Biosciences, a pioneer in the revolutionary field of CRISPR-Cas genome editing, and from The Climate Corporation, whose Climate FieldView™ digital platform is used to collect and analyze field data, measure performance, monitor nitrogen, and build tailored seeding prescriptions.
Of course, there was some action out on the golf course as well. Steve Costa, Lisa Branco, Doug Iten, Don Lydick, Mike Trebino and Patrick Dossche all laced up their spikes, while Sergio Torres represented Team Radicle on the bocce ball courts.

ASTA La Vista, Baby

Radicle Seed is proud to announce that we are now an official member of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). We’ve been very active participants in the California Seed Association, and as we continue to grow and expand, we’re looking to take things to the national level. 

At the CSA mid-year meeting, Lisa Branco was asked to serve on ASTA's Communications Committee by ASTA President & CEO, Andrew LaVigne, which is a very exciting opportunity for the Radicle team. Since then, Lisa has also been nominated to participate in ASTA's first inaugural Seed Ambassador Leadership Team, which will meet at the Veg & Flower Seed Conference in San Diego in January 2018.

Headstart in the Community

Not Our First Rodeo

Radicle Seed Company and Headstart Nursery were both sponsors of the 107th annual California Rodeo Salinas in July. This was an extraordinary year for the Rodeo, and we always enjoy being part of this memorable event!

Michael Aiello Fundraising Dinner

Chris Peck, Pete Perez, Leslie Rudd, and Doug Iten attended a dinner put on by Uesugi Farms in September to raise money for the Michael Aiello Scholarship Fund. A great time was had by all. We truly enjoy giving back with our customers to the community!

Fun at Farm Day

Salinas Farm Day was held in October with over 120 third grade classes from Salinas (that’s more than 3,000 kids!). Kyle Costa was there as a guide to help lead the students around the various educational displays. Lisa Branco was “seed scientist” for the day and gave presentations to 15 classes on various types of seed, seed treatments, and growth. 

This event wouldn’t be possible without the help of our volunteers.  To sign up for the next one or to get more involved, visit:

Leadership Gilroy Learns About Ag

Leadership Gilroy is a non-profit organization focused on inspiring and developing leaders in our local community. Just recently, the 2017 Leadership Gilroy class visited Headstart Nursery for their “Ag Day.”

The day started with a panel which included people from the ag industry. People from the class were able to hear about different roles within the industry, hear about the challenges we face, and ask questions to enhance their knowledge. Then the class took a tour of Headstart for a first-hand experience on how we operate!

All in the Family

Kyle Joins the Trifecta Tribe

Congratulations to Kyle Costa for completing the Spartan Race Trifecta after conquering Spartan Sprint, Super and Beast courses in 2017.

(He swears he was having fun, despite the expression on his face.)

We’re proud of Kyle for pushing his mind, body and spirit through these grueling challenges. Better him than us, we say!

Trick or Treat!

Our staff had fun dressing up for Halloween this year!

Goodbye...and Good Luck!

After many years of service to Headstart Nursery, Mike Fernandez and Daniel Clerou have accepted new positions to aid them in their professional growth. We want to thank them both and wish them well in their future endeavors.
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Our mailing address is:
4860 Monterey Road
Gilroy, CA  95020
(408) 842-3030