Considering the state of the economy these last 12 months, you might expect the growers on our Top 100 Growers List to practice caution with their production. Surprisingly, though, more than twice as many Top 100 Growers added greenhouse space (or provided updates on increases) within the last year than those who contracted space, and the majority of the Top 100 are holding firm to the production space they already have.
Four of the top 10 growers on our list, in fact, report increasing environmentally controlled greenhouse space within the last year. Color Spot Nurseries (No. 1), Costa Farms (No. 3), Altman Plants (No. 7) and Speedling (No. 10) added a combined 4 million square feetâ€“enough to theoretically add five greenhouse operations to this year’s list. Of those four, Speedling reports the biggest addition of nearly 2.7 million square feet and leaps 16 spots into this year’s top 10. It converted a number of vegetable greenhouses to poinsettia production.
The rest of the top 10 were among last year’s top 10. They are Kurt Weiss Greenhouses (No. 2), Rocket Farms (No. 4), Paul Ecke Ranch (No. 5), Metrolina Greenhouses (No. 6), Color Star Growers (No. 8) and Hines Nurseries (No. 9).
Beyond the top 10, Bell Nursery maintains the No. 11 position after adding 130,000-plus square feet; Aris Horticulture (No. 13) cracks the 4-million-square-foot mark; and Green Circle Growers breaks a tie and settles into the No. 14 position after reporting an addition of 500,000 square feet. Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas moves into the top 20 after adding 350,000 square feet.
Looking further down the list, N.G. Heimos Greenhouses (No. 28), Dan Schantz Farm (No. 31), Battlefield Farms (No. 34) and Garden State Growers (No. 43) all jump at least 13 spots this year. Battlefield Farms, which makes a leap of 23 spots, reports adding more than 500,000 square feet in the last year. Dan Schantz’s addition is nearly 500,000 square feet.
Farmers’ West Flowers & Bouquets makes the biggest leap on this year’s Top 100 Growers List among operations on the 2009 list. Barely ranked last year at No. 98, Farmers’ West moves up to No. 70 this year with 1,003,950 square feet. Another operation, Bailey Nurseries, jumps an impressive 26 spots to a 55th-place tie after it factored in its Iowa and Oregon facilities this year. Valley Flowers moves up 24 spots and into a 35th-place tie after recent additions that total 500,000 square feet.
In all, 32 growers on this year’s list reported additional greenhouse space for 2010. Thirteen operations that cracked our list contracted space within the last year, and an additional four operationsâ€“Armstrong Growers, El Modeno Gardens, Green Valley Growers and O.F. Nelson & Sonsâ€“no longer reside on our list.
Armstrong, which tied for 83rd last year, drops off our list after reducing space by nearly 200,000 square feet; El Modeno, which tied for 40th a year ago, exited the industry after selling its assets to Color Spot; Green Valley went out of business after taking the 60th position in 2009; and O.F. Nelson & Sons is roughly half of what it used to be this year after reducing production by 400,000-plus-square feet.
Taking the places of those four operations this year are Ivy Acres (No. 48t), Willoway Nurseries (No. 58), Olson’s Greenhouse (No. 60) and Plants Unlimited (No. 89).