Color Spot Nurseries (No. 1) and Kurt Weiss Greenhouses (No. 2) maintain their respective positions on our latest Top 100 Growers list with a staggering 26.4 million combined square feet of environmentally controlled greenhouse space. That’s virtually as many square feet as the bottom 30 greenhouse operations on our Top 100 Growers list combined.
Although Color Spot and Kurt Weiss report no change in production space for 2011, 28 growers on our 2010 list report increases in production space.
The Big Get Bigger
Of the 28 growers reporting additions this year, Ivy Acres’ 1.8 million square foot addition is by far the largest. At press time, President Dave Foltz reports Ivy Acres (No. 19) was on the verge of acquiring a considerable amount of greenhouse space from Conard-Pyle in Pennsylvania, putting Ivy Acres in a position to more than double its existing space. Foltz sheds more light on Ivy Acres’ addition on page 36.
Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses (No. 18) also reports a considerable addition of 500,000 square feet. Paul Ecke Ranch (No. 4), Altman Plants (No. 7) and Riverview Flower Farm (No. 67) all report additions of at least 381,000 square feet.
Other growers reporting additions of at least 240,000 square feet include: Mid-American Growers (No. 20), Stacy’s Greenhouses (No. 63), Aris Horticulture (No. 10), Henry Mast Greenhouses/Masterpiece Flower Company (No. 56) and Green Circle Growers (No. 12).
A Few Get Smaller
But while 28 businesses report operating under more space this year, nine report decreases that range from just a few thousand square feet to nearly one million square feet. Speedling (No. 15), which is a large producer of vegetable transplants in addition to floriculture crops, reports the most significant reduction in space dedicated to floriculture crops this year. Ranked 10th a year ago, Speedling now reports using about 3.8 million square feet of greenhouse space for floriculture crops.
Two other considerable reductions are those of Burgett Geothermal Greenhouses and Polk Nursery. Burgett Geothermal, a New Mexico-based operation, has appeared on the Top 100 list for years. Dale Burgett, however, says the operation is currently not in production and that he’ll probably sell his business to an entrepreneur. The reason Burgett Geothermal is not in operation is a strange one, for sure.
“The federal government was charging me a royalty for the (heat) in the water,” Burgett says. “My water belonged to the state of New Mexico. All they could do was claim the heat. They called the heat a mineral. I’ve been fighting them really hard. It took $2 million to fight the thing and go through all the courts. What I eventually did was I got the law changed in Washington (D.C.).”
Polk Nursery, meanwhile, auctioned its real estate in Florida last year and liquidated its inventory in March. So while Polk, Burgett Geothermal and Silver Terrace Nurseries drift off the list, Armstrong Growers (No. 70) returns, South Central Growers (No. 92t) makes an appearance and Parks Brothers Farm (No. 100) finally cracks the Top 100.
Nurserymen’s Exchange (No. 24t) and B and H Flowers (No. 54) report substantial reductions, as well. Nurserymen’s indicates it’s operating under 600,000 fewer square feet than one year ago, and B and H is right behind with 579,000 fewer square feet.