August 19, 2013

Head Grower Of The Year Dennis Crum: The Grower’s Grower

Dennis Crum values relationships. It’s a trait that has served him well over the years and it defines his career. And it’s those relationships that have stood the test of time and remain important after the excitement of the day and after the applause dies down. This was illustrated perfectly at Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence reception at OFA Short Course. The ballroom was abuzz with excitement, as 17 companies and individuals were nominated for awards at the prestigious ceremony, including four finalists for the 2013 Head Grower of the Year Award, sponsored by BASF. When Crum, the director of growing operations at Four Star Greenhouse in Carleton, Mich., was announced as the winner, the room erupted with applause and cheers from his many supporters. Crum accepted his award with humility. Through jokes and a few tears, he thanked owners Tom and Sharon Smith and his team at Four Star […]

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July 9, 2013

Head Grower Of The Year Finalist Ivan Tchakarov, Metrolina Greenhouses

Get to know the finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2013 Head Grower Of The Year and Operation Of The Year Awards. The winners will be revealed at OFA Short Course.

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June 20, 2013

Pacific Plug & Liner Is A Nominee For Operation of the Year

Founded in 1999, Watsonville, Calif.-based Pacific Plug & Liner has developed a reputation for growing high-quality young plants. Owned by Washington grower Smith Gardens, Pacific Plug & Liner spans 250,000 square feet of state-of-the-art production greenhouses that are the picture of innovation, with rolling Dutch containers, irrigation booms, Argus environmental controls, high-pressure fog systems and hydronic bottom heating. Managing orders and inventory with the PICAS software system allows the operation to track everything in real time, ensuring consistent quality and timely delivery. Pacific Plug & Liner places a great emphasis on customer service, committing to 24-hour turnaround for all orders and questions. Pacific Plug & Liner is a certified sustainable grower through the VeriFlora certification program. Because of its location on the environmentally pristine central coast of California, the operation sought certification as confirmation of its steps to be accountable for the overall welfare of its employees, families, community and […]

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June 20, 2013

North Creek Nurseries Is A Nominee For Operation of the Year

Growing quality plants sustainably, developing sustainable horticultural systems and promoting them to new markets are a priority for North Creek Nurseries. The wholesale propagation nursery specializes in growing perennials, ornamental grasses, ferns, vines and shrubs, and is well known for its patented Landscape Plug, propagated from the operation’s own stock and regionally sourced seed. These plants follow North Creek Nurseries’ commitment to provide material for its traditional wholesale customers, as well as for the growing ecological market, supplying plants for projects such as storm water management, soil stabilization, landscape restoration and habitat establishment.  In 1988, partners Steve Castorani and Dale Hendricks built on their individual experience in landscape contracting and plant propagation, respectively, to grow not only the best perennials, but also to focus on native plants for ecological restoration. The operation grew from humble beginnings on 17 acres in Landenberg, Pa., and expanded to another 28-acre farm in Oxford. […]

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June 20, 2013

The Perennial Farm Is The 2013 Operation of the Year

A wholesale grower of perennials and grasses, The Perennial Farm in Glen Arm, Md., was founded in 1981 and now spans 50 acres of highly efficient greenhouses and growing fields. The operation also grows hardy ferns, groundcovers, and flowering shrubs and vines, including the signature Treadwell Plants brand, one of the first brands to use QR coding, featuring videos by Dr. Allan Armitage. The operation’s website, www.perennialfarm.com, markets The Perennial Farm as a price value leader and delivery specialists, committed to partnering with customers to deliver plants when they’re needed. Three other websites market Treadwell Plants, as well as consumer information on gardening with perennials, shrubs, grasses and native plants. Rick Watson established The Perennial Farm based on a need he observed in the market when he co-owned a landscape design and installation business. While he was planting ornamental grasses and perennials for customers, he realized there was only availability […]

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June 20, 2013

Dennis Crum Is The 2013 Head Grower Of The Year

Dennis Crum is a grower’s grower. The 21-year mainstay at Four Star Greenhouse spends a lot of his time on the telephone answering culture calls and flying around the country to work with growers, help them plan spring production, review their seasons and decide what to grow or replace. It’s all part of the partnership Four Star has established with its grower customers, but it’s also the role, among his many, that makes Crum the happiest. As the director of growing relations and the wearer of many hats, he says he’s first and foremost a grower at heart. He has mentored countless young growers and emphasizes hands-on education and training with his fellow production teammates. “I try to stay as close to the greenhouse and growing as I can,” he says. “I never want to lose touch and become a talking head.” Crum started at Four Star in 1992 to […]

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June 20, 2013

Corwin Graves Is A Head Grower Of The Year Nominee

When Rocket Farms merged with Nurserymen’s Exchange in 2011, the company also acquired a huge resource in head grower Corwin Graves, an eight-year veteran who was then in charge of the operation’s substantial miniature rose program. Learning how to grow roses taught the horticultural science graduate from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo about the importance of stock management and that taking shortcuts in production leads to less-than-desirable results. Since then, the pride Graves takes in ensuring quality in all of Rocket Farms products shows in the company’s success. “We have built our reputation as a company by not taking shortcuts,” Graves says. “We have great facilities, an experienced and thoughtful staff, an ideal climate and a sense of pride that I think is uncommon in the trade.” Graves became head grower in 2011 and is responsible for all flowering products under the Rocket Farms brand, including 18 flagship and research and […]

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June 20, 2013

Rob O’Hara Is A Head Grower of the Year Nominee

For the second consecutive year, Rob O’Hara is a finalist for Head Grower of the Year. As someone who has truly helped to grow a business from the ground up, O’Hara’s reputation is synonymous with hands-on innovation, education, crop quality and leadership. In the 16 years O’Hara has been at Rainbow Greenhouses, the company has grown from just two acres to three fully automated locations that will grow to 50 acres by next year, with a 200-person staff.  O’Hara grew up in the greenhouse at his parents’ small operation on the prairie in Alberta, Canada. He studied greenhouse management at Alberta’s Olds College, where he continues to dedicate time and resources to up-and-coming students. Currently, he is helping students there research the use of renewable biochar to enrich growing media. Education has always been a focus for O’Hara, who promotes horticulture at a local secondary school program, where he mentors […]

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June 20, 2013

Ivan Tchakarov Is A Head Grower Nominee

Director of Growing Ivan Tchakarov is known for his ready smile, enthusiasm and willingness to learn and share knowledge with any grower who asks for it. Tchakarov is originally from Bulgaria, where he received a degree in horticulture and agriculture. He moved to England in 1994, and worked at Burelane Farm in Cambridge and Trent Valley Growers in Derby County. In 1999, when he was studying at The Ohio State University, he came to Metrolina Greenhouses for an 18-month internship, during which he worked in the tissue culture laboratory. Tchakarov was hired on as a plug grower and became director of propagation in 2006. Five years later, he was promoted to director of growing, in charge of all production across Metrolina’s 167 growing acres. Tchakarov spent 10 years developing plug procedures from start to finish. His emphasis on plug culture, scheduling, implementing new ideas and techniques and setting specific crop […]

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November 29, 2012

Nominate Someone Now For The Grower Of The Year Awards

Each year, Greenhouse Grower’s Grower of the Year program recognizes excellence in our industry by honoring an Operation of the Year and Head Grower of the Year. The awards, sponsored by BASF Professional Turf & Ornamentals, honor those who exhibit leadership and inspire others with their commitment to excellence. We need you to nominate deserving candidates for these awards. Operation of the Year nominees should also exemplify modern, high-quality production practices. In addition, they should demonstrate innovative marketing and strong customer service, embrace technology and provide community and industry leadership. Please provide details to support your nomination. Click here to nominate an Operation of the Year. Head Grower of the Year nominees should exemplify modern, high-quality production practices, embrace technology and innovation, lead, motivate and mentor others on staff, make valuable contributions to the operation’s management team and be actively engaged in the industry. Please provide details to support your […]

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January 16, 2012

Evening Of Excellence Is An Evening To Remember

For the first time this year, we’re opening up two Medal of Excellence awards to nominations from the industry. The Industry Achievement and Marketing awards, named historically by the magazine’s editor, will now go through a panel’s review after the nominations period ends February 28. Industry Achievement is a “lifetime achievement” award that recognizes individuals, companies and organizations that have dedicated their life’s work to advancing varieties and the floriculture industry. Adrian Bloom of Blooms of Bressingham received the award last year. The Medal of Excellence for Marketing award, meanwhile, honors innovative marketing programs that generate consumer interest and demand. Programs that receive this award are not new but tested in the marketplace for several years before consideration. To nominate for these two awards, as well as our Operation and Head Grower of the Year, visit GreenhouseGrower.com/Nominate. The Industry Achievement and Medal of Excellence for Marketing award winners will be […]

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