News from Headstart Nursery, Inc.
February 2019
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Nursery News

Celebrating 40 Years in Business!

Headstart Nursery is proud to be celebrating our 40th year!

We've certainly grown a lot since 1979, when we built our first six greenhouses. (Want to take a trip down memory lane? Check out the History page of our website.)

Today, Headstart Nursery has over 3 million square feet of growing space, employs 200+ people year-round, and grows more than 1 billion transplants and plugs every year. 

Thank you to our partners at Christopher Ranch and all of our customers and employees over the years for your ongoing support. We can't wait to see what the next 40 years will bring! 

What's New in Watermelons?

Our Headstart Nursery and Radicle Seed teams have been busy visiting Syngenta, Sakata and other seed company trials throughout California and Florida to see some of the newest developments in watermelon and other crops.

We're excited about advancements being made in the industry and look forward to growing some of these new varieties.

Another Sold-Out Year for Poinsettias

When we said to get your orders in early, we weren't kidding! We sold out every last one of our 75,000 poinsettias in 2018 and plan to grow even more this year.

It was an honor to welcome special visitors Joel and Paula Goldsmith for lunch and a tour of the greenhouses.

A Sweet New Kind of Cauliflower

Last season we did a few single-tray trials of Caulilini® SweetStem® cauliflower transplants for our customer Costa Family Farms—and now we're growing more than 4 acres a week!

This exciting new brassica from Mann Packing has long edible stems and blonde, open florets. Both the florets and stems are sweetly succulent in flavor. Look for it coming to a field (or store) near you!

Hope to See You at CA Spring Trials in March

California Spring Trials will be a little earlier than usual this year. Be sure to stop by and visit us on your tour! We'll be open March 23-27 and will have lots of exciting new Danziger "Dan" Flower Farm products to show off.

Scheduling an appointment is highly recommended (especially for large groups). Please email us to reserve a time slot for your group. 

Let's Get Social!

Don't miss out on a single minute of the action here at Headstart Nursery! You can now follow us on Facebook AND Instagram

Staying Connected

Since our last newsletter in July, our team has been busy attending various conferences and other industry events all across the country. 
  • Radicle Seed was a sponsor of the CSA Mid-Year Meeting in September. The two-day event included plenty of time to meet and discuss current issues impacting the seed well as play some golf and bocce ball to raise money for scholarships!
  • Chris Peck attended the Organic Grower Summit in December, where he got to meet up with several of our organic customers and learn more about the future of organics, block chain, regulations, and more.
  • Kyle Costa and Gina Anderson got to spend some time in Miami (where it was 80 degrees in December!) while attending a two-day seminar to learn more about safety, risk management, and workers compensation.
  • In January, Lisa Branco attended the ASTA Conference in Orlando. This is a huge show with over 900 attendees, so she had an action-packed few days! Lisa is a member of the Seed Ambassador Leadership Team and also serves on the Communications Committee.
  • Finally, just a couple of weeks ago, the Headstart and Radicle crews headed for Vegas to spend some quality time with other growers, suppliers and industry supporters at the Western Watermelon Association annual meeting. Staying well hydrated in photo below are Don Lydick, Mike Bushman, Pete Perez, Steve Costa, Doug Iten and Lisa Branco.

In the Community

A Visit from UCSC Farm & Garden Students

UCSC Farm and Garden came for their annual visit in September. We love spending time with this group answering questions and sharing our experiences within the industry. The students learn about organic gardening and sustainable food systems by living and working on a farm together for months. What a great way to gain knowledge and firsthand experience! 

Country Club Charm for Charity

Melissa Wark is an ambassador for the Gilroy Foundation and chaired her first event in October: “Country Club Charm” at the exclusive Rosewood CordeValle Resort. This extraordinary event helped to raise money for the Foundation, which has served the local community for over 30 years!  
Steve Costa, Jennifer Speno, Melissa Wark, and Randy Costa enjoying the festive evening

Doing Good in the Desert

Our desert team is also very active in the local community.
  • The Desert Sea site hosted a summer intern, Alondra Torres, as part of the Riverside County Migrant Education Program.
  • In November, Headstart Nursery participated in the Coachella Valley Water District's 100th Anniversary Celebration at The Living Desert. 
  • In December, 25 students from Cal Poly Pomona and UC Davis visited the nursery as part of the Western Grower Careers in Ag program (Doug Iten is shown at right with some of the students).

All in the Family

Another Costa in the House

To say that Kevin Costa was born for this job is an understatement. Kevin is the youngest son of Randy and Ann Costa and a recent graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Agriculture Environmental Plant Sciences with a concentration in Crop/Fruit Science. Kevin loved that his major was very hands-on and gave him opportunities to learn outside the classroom through labs, field trips, and industry events.

Kevin has worked at Headstart Nursery part-time during school breaks for several years, but is now officially a full-time Production Assistant. He's very excited to start making some real money and keep learning new things about the nursery business.

Welcome Baby Eleanor

This adorable bundle of joy is Eleanor Lee Iten, who was born on November 18, 2018 to proud parents Cole and Stephanie Iten.

She sure is a cutie!

A Very Sad Farewell...

Sadly, we all had to say goodbye to Harold Costa, who passed away in January at the age of 83. Harold was married for 60 years to the late Jean Costa. He was a very proud father to daughter Pamela and sons Steve and Randy, and an even prouder grandfather to Kyle, Kendall, Thomas and Kevin Costa. He "retired" after working for 42 years as a gas lineman for PG&E and started his second career as Headstart Nursery's delivery man, errand runner, cheerleader, and official greeter, a position he held for 22 years. 

A celebration of Harold's life will be held this Saturday (Februrary 16) from 12-3 pm at the Lodge on the Hill in Gilroy. All are welcome to come and share their memories. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to ALS Association in support of Harold's late wife Jean.
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Our mailing address is:
4860 Monterey Road
Gilroy, CA  95020
(408) 842-3030

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