Established in 2010 with a plan to grow the best quality, domestic California-grown Zantedeschia sp. Calla Lily bulbs from seed and tissue culture, Rancho Espinoza planted 20 acres of production. Founder Adrian Espinoza says he believes the California Central Coast is the best place to grow Callas, as mild temperatures throughout the year result in the ideal growing conditions to produce Calla bulbs.
“Our company grows 85% of its production from in-house seed and 15% from tissue culture,” he says. “We bring in rare varieties from global breeders and grow them to salable size and provide true T2 bulbs to market. All our bulbs are true T2 bulbs, meaning they grow two years in the soil undisturbed before they are harvested in the fall.”
Building Business on a Passion For Plants and Strong Family Ties
Starting Rancho Espinoza and Coastal Callas was the toughest challenge of Adrian’s life but one he says brought out the best in him. Adrian had experience working with callas in California and when his father unexpectedly passed away, he made the decision to not only manage the family’s estate but also start his own calla farm.
“I named it Rancho Espinoza because my father always wanted a farm. It is a tribute to him,” Adrian says.
Along with domestic production, high quality standards, and reliable supply, Rancho Espinoza and Coastal Callas are constantly breeding, searching out, trialing and testing innovative new genetics. Some are sourced from other breeders but many more are bred in house.
“I have been working in Callas for 16 years and have a passion for improving genetics through cross-pollination and natural selection processes that have brought Coastal Callas new and unique cultivars that will be released in coming seasons,” Adrian says.
And the company is constantly breeding – introducing three new varieties for 2018: Coastal Lavender, Coastal White and Compact Gold. Adrian explains the three goals of his breeding are disease resistance, flower power and habit. “But it all starts with disease resistance to grow and produce well.”
Family Commitment Plus Customer Partnerships Equal Success
Rancho Espinoza is a family-run business with the growing and production directly managed by Adrian. His wife Laura handles all administrative duties, such as sales order fulfillment and logistics, payroll and accounting. Cristian Espinoza (their sharp 20-year old) is in charge of cut flower sales and distribution.
“We are a small company but one that is strictly focused on Calla bulb production,” Adrian is proud to say. “Currently we are scheduled to harvest 20 acres of more than 30 varieties, with about 1.6 million true T2 bulbs. The 2018 crop looks healthy and vigorous.”
Doing business with Rancho Espinoza is a partnership and one that Adrian and his team respect and appreciate. The operation’s hands-on approach is what sets it apart, Adrian says.
“We might be small in scale but we make up for it in quality and attention to detail,” he says. “Open and transparent to our customers is how we prefer to do business.”
As the grower, breeder, and sales support, Adrian says he knows his bulbs inside and out.
“Very few domestic bulb suppliers remain in the market place, so we feel it’s more important now than ever to support our company in order for the market place to have options and value-based pricing,” he says.
Looking forward, Adrian explains the mission of Rancho Espinoza is to use its resources, experience, new genetics and ideal production climate to continue growing and supplying the best possible calla bulbs.
“Sticking my shovel in the ground and unearthing our large bulbs and seeing white roots with multi-eyed clusters brings a smile to my face, because I know that healthy grown bulbs in the farm translate to success on my customers’ benches.”
Learn more about the operation on the Coastal Callas website.