News from Headstart Nursery, Inc.
July 2018
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Nursery News

Sweet Success at Spring Trials

 We had another great year at California Spring Trials in April. This is always our favorite time of year, as we love welcoming customers from all across the country. We had wonderful displays of Vegetables, Cyclamen, Danziger genetics, and much more.

Save the dates now for next year’s California Spring Trials, March 23-28, 2019. Hope to see you here!

"Mini Bee" Growing in Popularity

Growers across the west coast are showing increased interest in the “Mini Bee” mini seedless watermelon variety, now available exclusively through Headstart Nursery. Early field results have been very positive, with strong vines and a high quality of fruit even under harsh desert conditions.

We have already sold out of all seed for 2018 but will be producing more for the 2019 season. Contact us if you’re interested in a trial!

The Holiday Magic Starts Right Here

We’ve already stuck over 80,000 poinsettias and are looking forward to another great holiday season. We’re keeping the price the same as last year: $5.50 per pot for non-profit groups (who sell them as fundraisers) and $6.50 for the general public.

We will begin accepting poinsettia orders on October 1. Be sure to order early, as we expect to sell out again this year!

Pimping Our Rides

As you can see, we’ve recently given our fleet a makeover with the spiffy Headstart logo. Keep an eye out and wave hello when you see our drivers on the road!  

Staying Connected

  • In March, Chris Cornia and Mike Bushman attended a training on Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) hosted by the California Seed Association in Woodland. The group reviewed the current state of CGMMV detections, the impact on California’s seed industry, best manufacturing practices, and production and field detection protocols and bio-security measures.
  • In April, Lisa Branco flew to North Carolina to participate in the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Spring Communications Summit. She reports that the discussions were active and engaging, and she’s excited for the direction the seed industry is going!
  • In May, Don Lydick and Doug Iten attended the California Seed Association 2018 Seed Industry Conference in Modesto. Workshops included topics like CGMMV, CRISPR technology, seed sorting technology, and industrial hemp production.

“Better Seed, Better Life” Student Video Contest

Graduate and undergraduate students pursuing agriculture disciplines are invited to participate in the second annual Better Seed, Better Life student video contest sponsored by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB).
The 2018 contest theme is:  "Rumor Has It." Videos should help set the record straight on a common misconception or myth associated with the seed industry. 
Video submissions are due August 31, 2018. Videos will be judged by an expert panel, and cash prizes will be awarded for winners. For more information, visit the contest webpage.

Employee Spotlight

We have an amazing team at Headstart Nursery, and in this newsletter we just wanted to shine the spotlight on a few of our staff members who do an especially outstanding job for us—and for our customers!

Reymundo “Rey” Quintero joined the Headstart Nursery team in May 2015 and has quickly become an asset to our day-to-day operations in Castroville and Salinas facilities.

Rey's knowledge of greenhouse operations is continually expanding, and he’s passionate about learning how to improve production quality—a trait that we greatly value!
Loretta “Sylvia” Delgado is one of Headstart’s longest-tenured employees, having kept the Desert crew in line for almost 19 years now!

Since 1999, Sylvia has managed the Desert office while also coordinating payroll and safety programs. She is truly our “Desert Gem,” and we’re grateful for her dedication.
Jeanette Figueroa has been a great asset to the Headstart team. She is our head Customer Service Rep in the Ornamental department and has really risen to the challenge. She handles order entry, shipping, seed and cutting orders, and more.

Jeanette continues to step up and take on more; at this point, we'd be lost without her! She’s also always laughing and thinking of others in the office. We truly appreciate her and love having her on our HSN team!
Kyle Costa is our most recent addition to the Gilroy production team and is approaching his two-year anniversary as a full-time employee. He has taken on the management of the three Gilroy sow lines and has become a key part to the operations in the seed room.

Through his hard work, Kyle has become very knowledgeable about several important areas of our business. He helps make sure that Headstart Nursery gets you the highest quality plants on schedule.

In the Community

Making the World a More Beautiful Place

At the annual Gilroy Rotary Club Flower Sale in April, Headstart Nursery and Syngenta Seeds donated flowering plants left over from Spring Trials to sell to local residents, with all proceeds going to benefit the Gilroy Rotary Club.

Helder Faria and the Headstart crew (including Steve Costa, shown below left!) were instrumental in helping set up this hugely popular community event.


Guiding the Next Generation

Headstart employees believe strongly in “paying it forward” and helping guide young students to finding careers they love.
  • In April, Headstart Nursery and Radicle Seed welcomed college students from CSU Fresno, CSU Chico, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Hartnell College, and UC Davis on the California Seed Association Flower Seed Tour. Lisa Branco was also one of 12 panel speakers who spoke with the students about their career paths at a Seed Central networking event.
  • Through a Seed Central mentorship program, Lisa Branco has been mentoring Cintia Sagawa, a student from Brazil who is in her 4th year as a PhD candidate in Plant Biology at U.C. Davis. In addition to her research on plant diseases, Cintia is interested in empowering women in the sciences and promoting research in developing countries. She said the mentoring program was “inspiring and enjoyable” and helped her better understand the impact of the research she’s doing at the University.  
  • Lisa Branco has also been invited to join the President’s STEM Task Force at Hartnell College to promote science, technology, engineering and math education programs and build workforce partnerships with  K-12 schools in the Salinas region.
  • In May, Gina Anderson met with 8th graders during Student Learning Portfolio Day at St. Mary School and spoke with them about her duties at Headstart Nursery and career opportunities in the Risk Management and Human Resources fields.

All in the Family

New Faces

We’re very excited to welcome Denise Ramirez to the Headstart Nursery team as our new receptionist in Gilroy. She is great with customers and always willing to help.

Denise and her fiancé, Michael, live in Hollister with their two children, Arianna (4) and Aiden (1). She loves spending time with her family and being active outdoors. She’s also tri-lingual in English, Spanish, and sign language!

Ken Thompson, our new Lead Grower at our desert facilities, grew up in Salton City and now lives in La Quinta with his wife and baby daughter, Kordelia Joy (who turns one in August).

Ken has experience working at other another greenhouse nursery and is happy to join Headstart’s “Desert Dream Team”! (And yes, we are thinking about making bow ties part of the new employee uniform...)

Can't Keep a Costa Down

Headstart Nursery's greeter, deliveryman, and all-around-great-guy Harold Costa gave everyone a scare when he had emergency surgery in mid-June.

He spent several days in ICU but is now recuperating (and catching up on his reading!) at an assisted living facility in Gilroy. 

Melissa & Brandon Get Hitched

On May 19, Melissa Campilli married Brandon Wark (a Senior Sourcer for Nutanix in San Jose) at Dodasa Ranch near Lodi, where close friends and family spent the whole weekend celebrating. They honeymooned in Cancun and enjoyed relaxing in the pool all week long.

Chris & Jessie Tie the Knot

On June 16, Chris Cornia married Jessie Hill (an elementary school teacher) at the Lodge on the Hill in Gilroy, then travelled to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for their honeymoon, which they spent relaxing on the beach, ziplining in the mountains, swimming with dolphins, and hiking in the jungle.

Desert Baby Boom 

Must be something in the water there in Mecca! Creedence Jean Iten (shown here with big brother Brodie) was born on April 16, followed closely by Adriana Barriga on April 24.

Congratulations to proud papas Doug Iten and Jessie Barriga and their growing families!
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Our mailing address is:
4860 Monterey Road
Gilroy, CA  95020
(408) 842-3030