It’s been a big cleanup week at Green Circle Growers in Oberlin, Ohio, in the aftermath of a freak windstorm that damaged 15 acres of the 100-acre operation Thursday night.
Damage is estimated to be more than $3 million, with nearly $1 million of that being plant material. Crop losses include 300,000 mums, 100,000 poinsettias and a lot of plug trays. Most of the damage was to glass panels, not the greenhouse structure.
“Replacement glass should be arriving later this week,” Sales Manager Scott Giesbrecht says. “The total clean up will take months. We have glass in places we didn’t know you could have glass.”
This was the most damaging storm the operation had experienced in its 42-year history. The glass was rated to withstand up to 90 mph winds. There was a tornado watch up until 9 p.m. Thursday evening and Green Circle’s 80 employees on night crew took shelter in designated safety areas and no one was injured.
“Our employee response has been excellent,” Giesbrecht says. “Our staff is like family. They’ve rallied, asked how they can help and even came in when they were off to work Saturday in the heat to help.”
Nearby automation equipment supplier Agrinomix brought over automated sweepers to help clean up the glass. The entire grower and supply community has come to Green Circle’s assistance to help with the crop losses and fulfill retail orders. “We’ve just had an outpouring of calls and offers for assistance,” he says. “Our customers have been extremely supportive. All the major retailers have offered help and support.”