October 12, 2011

Boost Your Bottom Line In Labor

One area growers and business owners in general feel powerless to control is rising health care costs. As providers of this employee benefit, growers often feel they are at the mercy of the insurance providers each year when it comes time to renew the coverage plan. And new federal regulations that are just beginning to be phased in have created a cloud of uncertainty. We shared what growers are doing to address this problem during a panel discussion we presented at the OFA Short Course this summer called “Boost Your Bottom Line.” The panelists were from our four Operation of the Year finalists: Bobby Barnitz (Bob’s Market and Greenhouses), Ken James (James Greenhouses), Marc Clark (Rocket Farms) and Al Mueller (Emerald Coast Growers). Barnitz and his human resources director have been working closely with their health care provider to explore ways to reduce costs and even had an evening meeting […]

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August 26, 2011

Mike Friddle And Speedling [Slideshow]

.Mike Friddle of Speedling is the 2011 Head Grower of the Year. Take a look at his crops in this slideshow.

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August 9, 2011

Speedling’s Mike Friddle: A Love For Teaching

Mark Worley was in Speedling’s greenhouses recently needing to convey a point to his Hispanic workforce. He approached a few bilingual employees thinking they could deliver the message in Spanish, but the employees couldn’t find the right word to deliver the precise message. That’s when Worley, Speedling’s East Coast division manager, reverted to his plan B: Mike Friddle, the head grower at Speedling in Sun City, Fla. ”We brought Mike over and he knew it,” Worley says. Friddle knew the word because he took it upon himself to learn Spanish so he could better communicate with Speedling’s employees, many of whom know little English. Friddle’s willingness to learn a new language is just one example of how dedicated he is to his craft, though. Friddle is a teacher, a motivator and an idea man. He’s a customer service leader and capable of getting the most out of crops in low-tech […]

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August 9, 2011

Bob’s Market and Greenhouses: Like Father, Like Sons

Scott Barnitz couldn’t believe the conversation he was hearing between his father, Bob, and a grower customer. Bob was about to make a deal that clearly favored the customer, and Scott, who was just establishing roots in the family business at the time, couldn’t fathom how his dad could settle for accepting less than the price their product was worth. But as Scott learned that day – and as he and his four brothers learned on many occasions growing up at Bob’s Market and Greenhouses – difficult decisions sometimes need to be made for the betterment of the business. “I’m not going to make a dime on every deal because that’s putting the dime before the customer,” Scott says. “Once in a while something strange happens, and you can’t jeopardize the relationship for just that one time. By the end of that day, I knew that particular customer would never […]

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July 14, 2011

Bob’s Market Named Operation Of The Year

Bob’s Market and Greenhouses of Mason, W.V., was named Greenhouse Grower’s Operation of the Year during the Evening of Excellence reception Monday night in Columbus, Ohio. Bob’s Market was in the running for the award with Emerald Coast Growers, James Greenhouses and Rocket Farms. Bob’s Market follows Metrolina Greenhouses (2010) and Lucas Greenhouses (2009) as recent Operation of the Year winners. Selected as an Operation of the Year finalist for the second consecutive year, Bob’s Market is well known for producing some of the highest quality plugs in its region. In fact, Bob’s is among the top 10 plug and liner producers in the United States despite just 15 years of focus in that area. Robert Barnitz and his wife, Corena, established Bob’s Market more than 40 years ago. All five of their sons chose greenhouse floriculture as their career paths, and all five have a stake in the business […]

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July 12, 2011

Operation Of The Year: Bob’s Market & Greenhouses

Bob’s Market and Greenhouses of Mason, W.V., was named Greenhouse Grower’s Operation of the Year during the Evening of Excellence reception Monday night in Columbus, Ohio. Bob’s Market was in the running for the award with Emerald Coast Growers, James Greenhouses and Rocket Farms. Bob’s Market follows Metrolina Greenhouses (2010) and Lucas Greenhouses (2009) as recent Operation of the Year winners. Selected as an Operation of the Year finalist for the second consecutive year, Bob’s Market is well known for producing some of the highest quality plugs in its region. In fact, Bob’s is among the top 10 plug and liner producers in the United States despite just 15 years of focus in that area. Robert Barnitz and his wife, Corena, established Bob’s Market more than 40 years ago. All five of their sons chose greenhouse floriculture as their career paths, and all five have a stake in the business […]

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June 14, 2011

2011 Grower Of The Year Nominees

Bob’s Market & Greenhouses Selected as an Operation of the Year finalist for the second consecutive year, Bob’s Market and Greenhouses in Mason, W.Va., is well known for producing some of the highest quality plugs in its region. In fact, Bob’s is among the top 10 plug and liner producers in the United States despite just 15 years of focus in that area. Robert Barnitz and his wife, Corena, established Bob’s Market more than 40 years ago. All five of their sons chose greenhouse floriculture as their career paths, and all five have a stake in the business as owners. Customer service is at the core of Bob’s Market, and Robert is especially proud of the fact Bob’s has never lost a customer due to poor product quality, delivery or a lack of business integrity. Building longstanding, personal relationships with customers that outlast Bob’s business relationships has always been a […]

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November 23, 2010

Regina Coronado’s Perennial Playbook

Success in plant production or growing good, quality plants is greatly related to production methods and growing strategies. All plants have different requirements. Some require higher rates of fertilizer; others require more calcium, more boron, additional iron, more trace elements or regular Epson salts applications. Soil and water analysis are a key factor to determine the appropriate feeding regime. Some plants are sensitive to certain pathogens more than others. Using a professional lab for disease diagnostics and building up the history of pathogens in a facility makes it easy to determine control strategies in a preventative manner. Always remember, preventative is easier than curative. Chemical Controls Pest control is easier to determine by season. Insect population varies with weather. When applying pesticides, it is very important to study the active ingredients and the modes of action. The chemistry of the pesticide will help structure a chemical rotation with different modes […]

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November 23, 2010

Now Accepting Grower Of The Year Nominations

In 2010, Greenhouse Grower took its longtime Grower of the Year award to new heights. We introduced a new Grower of the Year program, which encompasses two distinct awards: Operation of the Year and Head Grower of the Year. Metrolina Greenhouses and Regina Coronado of Stacy’s Greenhouses, of course, were respectively named Operation of the Year and Head Grower of the Year in 2010. But long before Metrolina and Coronado were recognized for their hard work at July’s OFA Short Course, they were nominated for their respective awards by industry colleagues. The nomination process is again in effect for the 2011 Grower of the Year awards, and you can nominate an operation or head grower you deem worthy through Friday, Feb. 25. There is no limit on the number of nominations you can make. For Operation of the Year, Greenhouse Grower is looking for operations that exemplify modern, high-quality production […]

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September 1, 2010

Slideshow: Regina Coronado at Stacy’s Greenhouses, York, S.C.

Let’s visit our Head Grower of the Year, Regina Coronado, at Stacy’s Greenhouses. Ranked at No. 87 on our Top 100 Growers, Stacy’s produces millions of perennials over 250 acres of production, including 815,000 square feet of greenhouses.

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August 25, 2010

Metrolina Greenhouses: Operation Of The Year

As a business grows really large, there’s always the concern it will become too big to move or capitalize on opportunities and adjust to market forces. Size can kill you if you can’t manage it. But that has never been the case with Metrolina Greenhouses, which has fully embraced its role as a mega grower and created a team culture that is nimble and alive to embracing change and innovation. Even 10 years ago, Metrolina was considered a very large operation with 50 acres of greenhouses in Huntersville, N.C. The company has since nearly tripled in size, becoming the largest single-site greenhouse production facility in the world. Metrolina ranks at No. 6 on our Top 100 Growers with 134 acres of covered greenhouse production and an additional 5 acres outdoors. The two large retailers it serves driving this growth are Walmart and Lowe’s. Peak season, Metrolina has nearly 800 employees […]

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