Mark and Sue Adams have been running Mark Adams Greenhouses (winner of the 2017 Excellence in Community Service Award) since the late 1970s, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about plants. However, they’ve also made it their mission to make sure that their customers — both on the store level and the consumer level — can also stay up to speed on horticulture.
Mark Adams’ biggest customer is Adams Fairacre Farms, and every spring, Sue Adams visits each of Adams Fairacre Farms’ four stores and provides training for employees so that they understand the products.
“I not only meet with garden center personnel, but also with those who work at checkouts and in the office, as they handle our merchandise, as well,” Sue says.
Sue also provides information on Adams Fairacre Farms’ website with tips and information to help retail customers.
“Keeping abreast of trends is important for the garden centers we service, so I’ve provided advice for do-it-yourself consumers and have devised recipes for infusing water, juice, and even alcohol, as well as recipes for the gourmet shoppers,” Sue says. “My mission is to help people be successful with plants, so I designed brochures that are given out at the stores and online, with information on container gardening, vegetable gardens, and succulents.”
Sue and Mark frequently host tours for scout groups and they donate plants to local school gardens and churches. Mark Adams is also on the Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County Board of Directors.
“I joined the board to protect the 4-H program, which was suffering for funding, Mark says. “I believe that a strong 4-H will help cultivate future gardeners.”
Both Mark and Sue are members of several industry organizations, including the New York Farm Bureau and the Northeast Floriculture Board, which gives them a chance to speak out on issues of importance to the floriculture industry, such as labor and import regulations.
“What we like about this industry is the people,” Mark says. “Everyone works together, helping each other, sharing information, and building an industry we can all be proud of. If nearby growers need product or we need anything, we all help each other out.”
The Operation of the Year award winner will be announced during Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence at Cultivate’17.