Ones To Watch: Stephen Barlow

Ones To Watch: Stephen Barlow

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we are profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 15th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Stephen Barlow of Barlow Flower Farm, who was featured in our September issue.


His Job–Stephen is part of the second generation at grower-retailer Barlow Flower Farm in Sea Girt, N.J. He is currently general manager at Barlow’s, which encompasses 6 acres, after graduating with a bachelor’s in horticulture from Michigan State University and a master’s from Monmouth University.

Think Big–Stephen envisions the development of a growing location where Barlow Flower Farm can become more self-sustained, and he would like to help expand the retail portion of the business. “We are on the brink of some really exciting programs and opportunities, including display gardens, children gardens and other programs,” he says.

Quotable–”It is not how big your business is, it is what you have in your pocket when it is all said and done. You could be a $10 million company with $100,000 left at the end of the year with a lot of stress, or a $1 million dollar company with $100,000 left and less headaches. Bigger isn’t always better.”

Twenty-Five Years From Now–Only large wholesale and specialty growers will exist. It will simply be too difficult for mid-sized growers to survive, Stephen says, unless they have niche items. “Companies will have to find their niche and stick with it. It will be important for companies to not get in over their heads, and they need to follow their competencies and do them well.”

Why He’s One To Watch–Barlow Family Farm has gradually grown over the years, and Stephen will play a major role in determining its place in the industry over the next decades. He has the passion and right people around him to see programs and opportunities through.

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