March 19, 2008

Elzinga & Hoeksema Unveils Organic Greenhouse

Only a handful of Midwestern growers have committed large portions of their greenhouses to the production of organics. Even fewer growers have built USDA-certified organic facilities from the ground up.  Count Mark Elzinga, president of Elzinga & Hoeksema, among the few. He opened a four-acre organic greenhouse at a special event March 12 in Portage, Mich., near Kalamazoo that was proclaimed a milestone for our industry. The organic greenhouse will supply Meijer retail stores with a variety of branded organic vegetable and herb potted plants. Among Elzinga’s branded products are Fresh Flavor vegetable plants, Fresh Flavor herb plants, Fresh Flavor Gallon vegetable plants, Classic Flavor heirloom plants, Ethnic Flavor vegetable plants, Ethnic Flavor herb plants, Urban Gardener patio pots, Micro greens and Herbal Home plants. More than 1.3 million organic plants will be produced in 2008.  “We’re really proud to be able to offer organic vegetables at Meijer,” Elzinga says, […]

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March 5, 2008

Speedling CEO Robbins Resigns

David Robbins, president and CEO of Speedling, Inc., has resigned after two-plus years with the company. He factored extensive travel and the desire to spend more time with his family into his decision. Mike Samilian has assumed the role of acting CEO. He is the current vice president of Speedling, a leading plug and and liner producer ranked eighth among Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers with 5,396,767 square feet of greenhouse production. Twenty-three percent of it was offshore. As president and CEO, Robbins increased sales of finished potted plant crops, introduced and commercialized new products in forage and energy grasses, improved decision-making tools, modified financial accounting of inventory, and developed and implemented costing and pricing models for ornamentals. Robbins got his start in agriculture in 1974, when he was plant manager for a frozen foods company. He moved up to CEO nine years later before moving on to Greenheart Farms […]

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February 20, 2008

Top 100 Growers: Growers Take Charge

Every year, the editors of Greenhouse Grower magazine rank the Top 100 Growers in the industry. This year, the Top 100 Growers report looks at the ways the country’s biggest growers are better serving their customers, including improving transportation and logistics, taking up sustainable production and growing a reliable workforce. For all the details on this year’s report, click on the links below. Tracking The Big Movers Keep track of the big moves of the largest producers on the Top 100 Growers list. Growers Taking Charge Growers are driving plant sales through production, transportation and in-store care. Top 100 Growers List Find this year’s list and rankings here. Ecke’s Gone Techie Paul Ecke Ranch is helping customers with Web-based technologies for tracking production and shipping. Wenke’s Transformation Wenke Greenhouses is taking care of customers with service and new products. Minnesota Standout Vendor scorecards, student trainees and sustainable practices spell success […]

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January 30, 2008

Hines Deregisters Stock

Hines Horticulture Inc. in Irvine, Calif., has announced plans to deregister its common stock with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Hines’ board of directors decided to take this action because the burdens associated with operating as a registered public company outweigh any advantages to Hines and its stockholders. Among factors the board considered were: The costs, both direct and indirect, incurred by Hines each year in connection with preparing and filing periodic reports with the SEC and otherwise complying with the obligations of being a public company, including the substantial increase in costs associated with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and related SEC rules. The benefits of permitting senior management to spend less time on report preparation and regulatory compliance, which will allow them to devote their attention and efforts to Hines’ operations. The historically low trading volume of the company’s stock The concentration of stock […]

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January 9, 2008

Rocket Farms Buys Pajaro Valley Greenhouses

California grower Rocket Farms in Salinas has purchased nearby Pajaro Valley Greenhouses in Watsonville. Rocket Farms is one of the nation’s leading potted plant growers, specializing in poinsettias, orchids, mums calla lilies and tropical foliage. One key orchid customer is The company also produces more than 1 billion vegetable plugs and has a certified organic production facility in Salinas. Additional facilities are in Gustine and Nipomo. Founded by Danish immigrant Arne Thirup, Pajaro Valley Greenhouses (PVG) was one of the largest remaining fresh cut flower growers in California, specializing in roses, gerbera and stephanotis. Thirup also was one of Greenhouse Grower’s early honorees as Grower of the Year for his activism supporting fair trade in cut flowers. He also was inducted into the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Floriculture Hall of Fame in 2001. In a recent interview with SAF, Thirup commented on his decision to sell the business […]

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November 28, 2007

Spotlight On Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses

Innovative foliage grower Herman Engelmann Greenhouses of Apopka, Fla., will receive ECGC Distributors’ 2007 Award of Distinction during the Tropical Plant Industry Expo on Jan. 18 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. ECGC Distributors represents 12 of the largest independent garden centers in the United States, including Al’s Garden center in Oregon; Armstrong Garden Center in California; English Gardens in Michigan; Green View Companies in Illinois; Homestead Gardens in Maryland; Mahoney’s Garden Centers in Massachusetts; Martin Viette Nurseries in New York; Molbak’s in Washington; McDonald Garden Centers in Virginia; Pasquesi Home and Gardens in Illinois; Petitti’s Garden Centers in Ohio and Southern Homes and Gardens in Alabama. ECGC’s award recognizes the premiere interior plant grower providing the most distinctive product and service in the prior year. Foliage buyers at all ECGC firms perform an evaluation on each preferred vendor. This evaluation contains objective criteria and a graduated scale that evaluates product and […]

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October 17, 2007

Yoder Free From White Rust

Recent reports of Chrysanthemum White Rust in the Northeast led to inspections at Yoder Brothers’ facilities in Florida this month. In separate inspections of Yoder’s facilities in Alva and Parris, Fla., on Oct. 4 and 5, USDA authority for Chrysanthemum White Rust (CWR), Dr. Anwar Rizvi, determined both facilities were clean of CWR, according to Yoder’s marketing Director Chris Kelleher. “Ongoing details regarding Yoder varieties and recent CWR outbreaks in the Northeast will be forthcoming,” she says. “However, the inspection has verified that the outbreak did not originate in Yoder stock, but was most likely caused by exposure to diseased cut chrysanthemums from overseas that were shipped to nearby locations of affected facilities.”

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October 10, 2007

Metrolina Hosts Pansy Trial

Metrolina Greenhouses and Sakata Seed will host a Southeast Regional Pansy Trial and grower meeting on Friday, Oct. 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be two technical trials along with speaker presentations. This full comparison trials will be grown under standard commercial growing conditions to provide growers a realistic evaluation of each series. Technical trials will focus on specific growing conditions and challenges. Metrolina Greenhouses is located at 16400 Huntersville-Concord Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078. To attend the trial, presentation and lunch, RSVP to Nicole Naragon, [email protected], 260-672-3820.

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August 15, 2007

Hines Stock Gets Delisted

Following months of compliance issues, Hines Horticulture of Irvine, Calif., has been delisted from NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc., where the mega grower was publicly traded as HORT. Trading was suspended Aug. 8. Hines received a NASDAQ Staff Deficiency Letter in July because the bid price per share of the company’s common stock closed below $1.00 per share for 30 consecutive business days, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Hines has until January 22, 2008 to regain compliance with this minimum bid price rule. Stock must remain at or above $1.00 per share for at least 10 consecutive business days for trading to be reinstated. Hines also failed to maintain the minimum $10 million stockholders’ equity requirement for continued listing on The NASDAQ Global Market. Another issue has been the value of its nursery in Trenton, S.C. According to the filed documents, Hines entered into a […]

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May 30, 2007

Ecke Partners With Armstrong

While Armstrong Garden Centers has had a vibrant destination garden center at the base of The Flower Fields owned by Paul Ecke Ranch for many years, the two companies are taking the partnership to new heights by turning Ecke’s finished poinsettia production over to Armstrong Growers. “Over the years, with the guidance of Ecke’s experts, we’ve perfected our ability to grow the Ecke-style poinsettia, and we’re pleased to carry on the Ecke quality and tradition,” said James Russell, Armstrong Growers’ Vice President. The relationship with Armstrong and its 36 garden centers will continue to be a great avenue for Ecke to stay in touch with retailers and consumers. For more on Armstrong, visit and With the finished poinsettia production leaving Ecke Ranch’s Encinitas, Calif., facility, the company will be able to expand its operations as a plant innovator and cuttings provider. Ecke’s recent acquisition of Oglevee® reflects the strategy […]

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March 21, 2007

Top 100 Turns 20

Our May issue will mark the 20th time we publish the Top 100 Growers ranking of the largest greenhouse floriculture producers in the United States. Just think of how our industry has changed in 20 years. If your operation has at least 600,000 square feet (13.8 acres) of environmentally controlled greenhouse production, you may qualify for this year’s ranking. For access to this year’s survey, visit our home page at

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