CAST 2017: Musings of a California Spring Trials Rookie – Back to Reality
Growing spring crops requires dedication. Here we are in grower’s week 14, and I have been away from the greenhouse I manage for a total of six days. I have so much to do tomorrow. Although my spring trials were cut short about half of a day, I feel like I got more than a mouthful. During my entire California Spring Trials trip, I have been thinking about what’s on the bench at home. My dad once told me “you don’t know how good of a manager you are, until you see how it operates while you’re away.” I didn’t get one phone call related to any problems in the houses during my visit to California. I guess this justifies that I truly do fit under the grower’s position.
During the entire length of my travels, I met plenty of horticultural celebrities. The number of opportunities presented to me are enough to make me rethink my location. It really is too bad that there are not such operations (the ones that I have always thought of as the big-timers) closer to home. I still have to finish my Bachelors of Science in Horticulture from Oregon State University. I still have a family at home that drives me to do the best that I can do to support them. I still have a lot of big decisions that I will need to make for the future.
While waiting in the airport for my flight home, I found myself in conversation with several different folks. The question of “what brings you here” can be expected. It feels like culture shock when discussion comes up about plants, and specifically about the horticulture industry. Coming from the trials, where conversation is immediately elevated to all the art and science involved in producing a product, then to meeting someone who states “oh yeah, I buy flowers every year” takes a lot of adjustment. It’s like that feeling you get when landing in a plane and have to fight to not be smashed into the seat in front of you.
I was asked by the Greenhouse Management Instructor at Spokane Community College to formally share my experiences with a class of his students. I have more than enough pictures and stories to share with them. I have the pleasure to share with them that the horticulture industry is alive and booming. I have lots of explanations regarding how things work outside of the textbook. Although, it will be difficult to share the full experience and the passion involved with the 2017 California Spring Trials, it will not be a challenge to turn questions marks into exclamation points.
I want to thank all of the people I met throughout the trials for being so welcoming. It is working with people such as yourselves that make horticulture a promising career. And a big thank you to Kemin for its support, the Meister Media Worldwide/Greenhouse Grower crew, and Dr. Allan Armitage for making this an opportunity of a lifetime!
Thank you to Kemin for its support of the 2017 Dr. Allan Armitage California Spring Trials Scholarship.