Joe Grower is your typical greenhouse grower, only he lives and works in the year 2033. We caught up with him recently and asked him about his craft.
What crops are you growing in the greenhouse right now?
Of course all we do is GMO based–both food crops for home gardens as well as our full line of GMO floriculture novelties. The GMO food crops we all know and love–all high protein, high fiber. The new line of designer carrots–where we match your DNA code to the carrots, has been a huge hit. Full match will include any amino acid deficiencies that the customer may have so we remove any need to add supplemental foods to the diet.
The GMO flower novelties are just starting, with our scented petunia line from Chanel–each petunia a perfect match for a Chanel fragrance. We also have high expectations for the new GMO alarm marigolds. You remember the story of how they added DNA from watch dog, llama and cobra? The alarm marigolds will not only sense an intruder in your yard or home, but spit at great distance a toxic venom. Typically, we also sell along with alarm marigolds a few flats of Johnson and Johnson burn remedy geraniums, just in case.
Who are your customers?
All of our business is done in our virtual storefront. We have been online only since way back in 2012. Customers can see all our crops. They all pull up in full 3-D holograms. Most of out clients have given us access to their Google Map keys, so we have full 3-D plots of their home gardens. We run SIM software on their homes so they can see how all the products will fit and look ahead of placing orders. That saved us all from repeating a disaster back in 2023, when we had the Mutant Mum catastrophe–who knew they would get so large? Of course, like all virtual retailers, all material is customized not only to their home but also their cultural and social needs. A French footballer will see a different assortment than an Italian chef.
We’re just finishing up the holiday season. What were your key products and promotions?
Turkey-scented poinsettias remain a long time favorite with ‘Paul Jr.’ again the top-selling scented poinsettia. We tried that ‘Fly me to the moon’ co-op program with SouthwestDeltaVirgin but felt it fell a little short–consumers did not connect space travel with Christmas.
Do you have any big plans for spring?
We are looking ‘retro’ this coming spring. With all of our plants installed for the customer by our own staff for the past 12 years or so–for fun we are going to try a ‘let’s get dirty’ program, where our customers “touch” the flowers and the soil. We have low sales expectations–really, who wants to dig dirt–but it should all bring back a few memories.
Is your business seasonal or have you developed year-round niches?
We have not been seasonal in years. Our virtual storefront has many other year-round items–we are big into hovercraft parts as an example. Plus we ship over such a wide area–Panama to the Yukon–that we have a long spring.
What kinds of technology are you using in the greenhouse?
All have been equipped with the latest in Artificial Intelligence robots, all based on the Metrolina example. As you know Metrolina has not had a human step foot in that range in over a dozen years. The latest software is from that new start-up firm, SkyNet.
Do you have trouble finding and training employees?
Most of our staff is in India although lately the U.S.-based engineers are cheaper.
Do you consider your production methods to be sustainable or environmentally conscious?
Wow–sustainable–there is a word I have not heard in years. Of course all of our material passes UN #2577873 certification.
What will be the biggest challenges for growers heading into 2034?
Well–the six of us got together–we think we are all in good shape.
What are your greatest opportunities?
Real concern over the return of ’90s music back into popular culture. Last time that happened I recall we had a few rough years.