Page 1

Western September 2012 Volume 6 Edition

Section One of One

GROWER

Number 10

$2.50

Serving All Aspects of Commercial Horticulture

Greenhouse • Nursery • Garden Center • Fruit & Vegetable • Farm Markets • Landscapers • Christmas

Keep the Spirit Alive ~ Page 22

Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Organic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Christmas . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Melissa Piper Nelson

Today’s Marketing . . . . . 5

Stephens Farmhouse ~ Page 2


Stephens Farmhouse

by Kelly Gates The Stephens family has been in the growing industry for many years. Jeff Stephens is a third generation California farmer who produces melons, peaches, plums and walnuts on 600 acres of land as a partnership with his brother. For nearly 45 years, there was a melon stand set up at the farm to sell direct to the public. According to Cherie Stephens, Jeff’s wife and current co-owner of Stephens Farmhouse, the retail stand ultimately led the couple to own and operate a full-fledged outlet in Yuba City, CA. “The previous owner of this business used to buy melons from us and one day, he told us that he planned to retire soon,” Cherie said. “He offered the idea of having us purchase the place and from there, everything started to fall into place to make it a reality for us.” The Stephens learned the main thruway that ran directly in front of their melon stand was scheduled to be re-routed, directing throngs of traffic away from the place. Jeff’s mother and father were also planning to shift their focus away from the business during their retirement years, but felt compelled to stay involved Jeff Stephens from Stephens Farmhouse helps a customer select a watermelon at the Saturday Farmers Market in as long as the melon stand was up and run- Yuba City. In the background is their truck, known as “Mr. Willard,” which both hauls and displays the fruit. Photo by Joan Kark-Wren ning. These and other variables ultimately in customers from far and wide as word spread ence in the orchards, fields and other growing inspired the duo to take on the company. When of the handmade treats from a company with a areas farmed by the Stephens family. Then, they did, there was virtually no renovations unique, down-home feel. they move indoors where Cherie and her staff needed, just some cosmetic changes to make it Stephens Farmhouse acquired 11 recipes walk the youngsters through step-by-step feel like theirs. They simply hit the ground along with the business. Today, there are more instructions for baking a pie or other dessert. running. “Our program is called ‘Kids in the Kitchen,’” than 30 standard recipes that are used “It was a tur nkey operation,” explained throughout the year there. said Cherie. “We usually show the kids the Cherie. “There was around one acre of properThe couple continues baking pies, pastries orchards around the store and across the ty with a building that housed a kitchen, fruit and other related items. Their jams are big street and talk to them about the richness of stand, display cases, shelving and everything sellers. They are so popular that Stephens agriculture in our county. Then, they get to else we needed. We continued selling produce Farmhouse jams are now sold in a wide array come inside and make a pie that they are like we always had, but we have expanded into of stores throughout northern California, with proud to take home and enjoy with their famijams, pies and a long list of value-added prod- many wholesale customers requesting the lies.” ucts that now make up more than half of our spreads with their own labels on the jars. The company also offers catering for special business.” “We make a private label jam for Yosemite events. An annual quilt show has the Stephens According to Cherie, the previous owners had National Park, private label jams for a local Farmhouse crew busy preparing approximately started using ripe and cosmetically challenged Sunsweet Growers store and we do the same 1,200 lunches during the summer. They also fruits from the produce stand as by-products for a bunch of businesses all around Lake take on baby showers, political fundraisers many years before. The extra offering brought Tahoe,” noted Cherie. and many other events.

“During the holidays, we make Uncle Morris’ fruitcakes and market them through our store and Sunsweet Growers’ store too.” Along with this burgeoning wholesale division, Stephens Farmhouse has a youth outreach program that caters to kids ranging from Kindergarteners to college students. Some are special needs children such as sightimpaired groups that come out to the site to lear n about growing and to make a tasty treat to take home at Cherie Stephens at the retail stand where she and her family sell their produce as well the end of the day. as jams, pies, cookies and other value-added products. All young guests are Photo courtesy of Stephens Farmhouse treated to an educational outdoor experi-

While Jef f oversees the far m operations, Cherie manages the retail store, bakery, kids’ program and catering. She has had help from the couple’s children, Megan, Madeline and Sam. A staff of seven or eight part-time and two full-time workers also help keep things running smoothly. “Our daughter Megan is the oldest and she has expressed an interest in working here again, now that she is out of college,” said Cherie. “Madeline is still in school and pursuing a career in speech pathology, but she has been working hard making jams for us this summer. Sam is just 14, but he seems to really enjoy being here too and might have a future at Stephens Ranch when he is older.” Jeff and Cherie would love to see any of their children take over the family business one day. However, they encourage each of their kids to follow the path they choose. None of them will have to decide anytime soon. The husband and wife owners have only been at the helm of Stephens Farmhouse for 10 years and they plan to stay there for many years to come.


by Sanne Kure-Jensen Do you want to grow your farm business, increase revenues and enlarge your customer base? Marketing ef forts will be most effective if they are well planned and targeted using thorough Marketing and Action Plans. Bryan Mason, principal of The Apollo Consulting Group, shared his recommendations at a recent presentation hosted by the Newport County Chamber of Commerce in Middletown, RI. To create a Marketing and Action Plan, first define your product or product category, set your goal and create a message. Next, determine who your customers are. Then figure out how to reach them and how to convert prospective customers into satisfied customers. Create Value Proposition and Develop Goal Think about the benefits your product(s) of fer to customers. What customer need will your product fill, or what problem will your product or service solve? Describe common characteristics of your product(s). How do customers perceive your product(s)? Your product could be: • Fresh, local food or value added products • Healthy food or fiber • Sunshine for your plate • A connection to the earth Consider possible customer needs/wants: • Healthy, fresh food • Organic, environmentally sustainable products • A connection with where their food comes from • T o preserve open space through viable farms • To support vibrant local economy by buying locally Create your Value Proposition or the promise you offer to deliver to your customer(s). Be sure to always deliver what you promise and exceed customer expectations. The Value Proposition will articulate why customers should buy from you. Evaluate your sales goals in profit dollars, number of sales and number of customers, etc. Identify Target Audience Who are your current customers and what do they have in common? For example, do you sell to families with kids, young professionals or institutions? Determine what groups you want to sell to in the future. Do you want to add restaurant chefs and/or institutions?

Developing Marketing and Action Plans

Join Bid List Measure Results searches is to keep it fresh. After defining your target cus- Include a calendar with event listTrack your marketing and outtomers, create a prospect list. For ings and even a weekly blog. Link reach ef fectiveness; always ask example, create a list of restau- to other sites and ask them to link callers or customers where they heard about you? Log their rants and their chefs and buyers to you to gain credibility. Action Plan responses on a call sheet or within your county or several Put together a detailed Action spreadsheet. nearby counties. Getting names of Be sure to install Google hospital and institutional buyers Plan. Do not bother creating a may be harder. If you do not have thick, elaborate report that will Analytics (free) on your website to easy ways to reach out to local just sit on a shelf. Create a brief track how people found your site, buyers or decision makers, pur- but thorough spreadsheet and what pages they look at and how chase a targeted contact list from check in regularly to assess your long they stay on your site. Review the Analytics report and revise a mail house or other list provider. progress. Your spreadsheet should have a your web keywords and web pages If you have trouble reaching institutional purchasing agents, row for each target audience and as needed. The more carefully your track try this approach: Once every columns for your products, service approach, target your data, the better you will know three or four weeks, send a premi- areas, method, which marketing programs yielded um (like a squeeze ball, pen or buyer/title, other gadget) with your logo on it. resources/costs & time, actions, the best results and were worth Choose premiums that relate in d e p e n d e n c i e s / b o t t l e n e c k s , repeating. At a minimum, track some way to your business. responsible person, timelines, pri- your sales; just know that if sales are low, it will be hard to isolate Include a letter and brochure orities and measures of results. Consider how you will access what went wrong. pitching your farm and products. Partners Send two or three premiums, potential buyers or decision-makConsider a partnership with a depending on how many key ers. The decision-maker may or or complementary points you want to make. Contact may not be the final consumer of s u p p l i e r business. For example, offer the recipient about a week after your product. Review the plan and look for any y o u r p r o d u c e C S A c u s t o m e r s a the final delivery; mention the premiums and you should have no overlapping or duplicate ef forts s i n g l e p i c k u p l o c a t i o n f o r a n trouble arranging a meeting. Do that could yield multiple returns o r c h a r d o r m e a t s h a r e f r o m other producers. this only for hot prospects - poten- for one effort. Build a Strong Organization Remember your existing custially profitable customers - as you Plan for growth. Consider will need to spend about $30 per tomers. Getting new customers generally costs more than keeping y o u r s t a f f o r g a n i z a t i o n a l c h a r t contact plus your time. anticipate workforce Make the most of your sales existing customers. Find out why a n d meeting. After your successful your current customers chose to c h a n g e s b e f o r e t h e y a r e n e e d sales call where you pitched your buy from you, and ensure they e d ; p l a n t h e r o l e s a n d t a s k y o u products, told your farm story and were satisfied with their purchase. w i l l n e e d a c c o m p l i s h e d a s y o u r showed why they should buy from Find out if they will remain loyal b u s i n e s s g r o w s ? Yo u c a n c o n t a c t B r y a n M a s o n you, be sure to follow-up with a customers. Keep them engaged thank you note. If you get permis- with a regular newsletter or e- a n d T h e A p o l l o G r o u p a t b m a sion, add them to your email newsletter (be sure to ask for their s o n @ a p o l l o g r. c o m , c a l l 4 0 1 and/or blog list. Invite them to email and have them opt in). Offer 8 6 2 - 6 3 3 9 o r w r i t e O n e D a v o l like you at your Facebook page. a blog, Facebook page or other S q u a r e , S u i t e 2 0 3 , P r o v i d e n c e , RI 02903. Send an annual calendar with social media to keep in touch. your name, logo and great farm photos on it to keep your name in their minds. Inbound Marketing Review your website. Be sure it explains the benefits your products offer and the customer needs/wants or problems your product fulfills. Be sure to tell your story and use relevant keywords that match words or phrases which your customers might type. Work with your web designer and host to maximize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that your site shows up near the top of a search page. Other ways to help your site rank high in Marketing efforts are most effective when they are well planned and targeted.


NORCAL/CAFG&S receives the Award of Merit-Industry at 2012 AIFD NORCAL/Califor nia Association of Flower Growers & Shippers, located in Soquel, CA, has been recognized by the American Institute of Floral Designers’ (AIFD) National Board of Directors with the Award of Merit - Industry. The announcement was made on July 14 during the Institute’s 2012 Awards Ceremony, held in conjunction with its 2012 National Symposium “Caliente” in Miami, FL.

NORCAL/Califor nia Association of Flower Growers & Shippers is a non-profit trade association established to represent the professional needs and interests of the floral industry in California. They offer a variety of services to strengthen the floral and agricultural industries by increasing the flow of products from California to destinations throughout the world. They were recognized for their long held commitment and

dedication to AIFD Symposium. Each year, AIFD hosts its National Symposium in a different host city. The Symposium is an opportunity for internationally acclaimed designers to gather together to share ideas, educational tips, network and advance the industry of floral design. The 2013 National Symposium “Passion” will be held in Las Vegas, NV, June 28 to July 2.

Photo by Joan Kark-Wren Jeff Stephens of Stephens Farmhouse and his son Sam sell melons at the local farmer’s market. Country Folks The Monthly Newspaper for Greenhouses, Nurseries, Fruit & Vegetable Growers (518) 673-3237 • Fax # (518) 673-2381 (ISSN# 1065-1756) U.S.P.S. 008885 Country Folks Grower is published monthly by Lee Publications, P.O. Box 121, 6113 St. Hwy. 5, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428. Periodical postage paid at Palatine Bridge, NY 13428. Subscription Price: $20 per year. Canada $55 per year. POSTMASTER: Send address change to Country Folks Grower, P.O. Box 121, Subscription Dept., Palatine Bridge, NY 13428-0121. Publisher, President........................................Frederick W. Lee Vice-President Production ..........................Mark W. Lee, ext. 132..........................mlee@leepub.com Vice-President & General Manager ..........Bruce Button, ext. 104 .....................bbutton@leepub.com Comptroller ................................................Robert Moyer, ext. 148.....................bmoyer@leepub.com Production Coordinator ............................Jessica Mackay, ext. 137..................jmackay@leepub.com Editor ......................................................Joan Kark-Wren, ext. 141...............jkarkwren@leepub.com Page Composition ....................................Allison Swartz, ext. 139....................aswartz@leepub.com Classified Ad Manager ..............................Peggy Patrei, ext. 111 ..................classified@leepub.com

Palatine Bridge, Main Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 518-673-3237 Accounting/Billing Office . . . . . . . . 518-673-2269. . . . . . . . . . . amoyer@leepub.com Subscriptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 518-673-2448 . . . . . subscriptions@leepub.com Web Site: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . www.leepub.com Send all correspondence to: PO Box 121, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428 Fax (518) 673-2699 Editorial Email: jkarkwren@leepub.com Advertising Email: jmackay@leepub.com AD SALES REPRESENTATIVES Bruce Button, Ad Sales Manager . . . . bbutton@leepub.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext. 104 Dan Wren, Grower Sales Manager . . . dwren@leepub.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext. 117 Jan Andrews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . jandrews@leepub.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext 110 Dave Dornburgh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ddornburgh@leepub.com . . . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext. 109 Steve Heiser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sheiser@leepub.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext. 119 Ian Hitchener . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ihitchener@leepub.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 518-210-2066 Tina Krieger. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . tkrieger@leepub.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext. 262 Kegley Baumgardner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . kegleyb@va.net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 540-255-9112 Wanda Luck / North Carolina. . . . . . . . . wwluck5@gmail.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336-416-6198 (cell) Mark Sheldon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . msheldon@gotsky.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 814-587-2519 Sue Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . suethomas1@cox.net. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 949-599-6800 Lee Publications 6113 State Hwy. 5, PO Box 121, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428 We cannot GUARANTEE the return of photographs. Publisher not responsible for typographical errors. Size, style of type and locations of advertisements are left to the discretion of the publisher. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. We will not knowingly accept or publish advertising which is fraudulent or misleading in nature. The publisher reserves the sole right to edit, revise or reject any and all advertising with or without cause being assigned which in his judgement is unwholesome or contrary to the interest of this publication. We assume no financial responsibility for typographical errors in advertisement, but if at fault, will reprint that portion of the ad in which the error appears.

(L-R) AIFD Secretary Suzie Kostick AIFD, CFD, PFCI, MCF; NORCAL/CAFG&S Rep. Chris Johnson, Director of Transportation; AIFD Past President Tom Bowling AIFD, CFD, PFCI; Kim Kudo, NORCAL Secretary / Treasurer; Steve Dionne, NORCAL Director; and AIFD President Ann Jordan, AIFD, CFD, AAF.

Securing equipment on trailers by James Carrabba, Agricultural Safety Specialist, NYCAMH Many agricultural businesses transport tractors and heavy equipment on trailers. When hauling equipment on trailers, it is vitally important to make sure that the equipment is properly fastened down. This article will review some basic safety tips for ensuring that machinery is properly secured onto trailers. Also, loading and unloading equipment from trailers can be a hazardous task. The following are some safety recommendations to minimize hazards when loading and unloading mobile equipment from trailers: • The truck and trailer should be parked on firm, level ground. • Set the parking brake and chock the wheels. • The trailer and/or ramps need to be wide enough for the equipment being loaded. • If using a flatbed trailer with ramps, check to make sure the ramps are long enough to avoid having a steep angle. • The operator needs be familiar with the equipment and preferably experienced in loading and unloading the equipment. • When possible, and from a safe distance, have a ground spotter assist the equipment

operator in getting the machine properly positioned on the trailer. Do not overload the trailer and truck. Use an appropriate sized truck for the size of the trailer and the weight of the equipment being hauled. Check the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the truck and its towing capacities. If the combined weight of the truck, trailer and equipment being hauled exceeds 10,000 pounds, you must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations. This includes U.S. Department of Transportation markings on the truck, properly securing cargo, and stopping at roadside inspection stations. Proper steps to follow to secure the machine for transport: • Inspect all the tiedown points and hardware for any signs of damage or wear. • Inspect all chains. Look for any broken, cracked, or stretched links. • Balance the load properly on the trailer. Position 60 percent of the load towards the front of the trailer. An improperly balanced load can cause the trailer to sway potentially resulting in a loss of control. • Lower the bucket or any attachments down on the deck of the trailer.

• With articulated machines, connect the steering frame lock out bar after loading. • When tying down the equipment, keep the chains straight and tight. It is best to use ratchet binders. • In many states, heavy equipment with tracks or wheels must be restrained against movement with a minimum of four tiedowns. Each tiedown must be fixed as close as possible to the front and rear of the machine or to mounting points on the machine that are specifically designed for that purpose. • The working load limit of the tiedowns must be at least one-half the weight of the equipment that is being moved. • Many states require that the truck driver stop and check the tie down attachments shortly after the start of the trip. In some states, truck drivers are required to stop and check the load tie downs within the first 50 miles of the trip. Also, drivers are required to recheck the load and tiedowns every three hours or every 150 miles, whichever comes first. • Truck drivers need to occasionally check the position of the trailer and load in the truck mirrors during transport.


The point of it all

Most of us have indulged in the last minute purchase of candy, gum, magazines, batteries, sodas, or any number of impulse items displayed near a store’s cash register. In fact, merchandisers count on shoppers buying point of sales (POS) or point of purchase (POP) items, and spend huge amounts of money on attractive and enticing displays to point us in that direction as we shop. You may question how point of purchase sales relate to direct farm marketing ventures, but the same principles of impulse buying work equally as well at a farm market stand as in a chain store. Shoppers may arrive at a retail outlet, farmers’ market, farm gate business or a roadside stand with an idea of what they want to purchase. They may have come for sweet corn or a pumpkin, but impulse buying sends them home with an additional jar of jam, some barbeque sauce and a pie for dessert. The psychology behind impulse buying is to display items that en-

courage shoppers to think about and ultimately purchase additional items before leaving the store. Some in-store research has shown that 30 percent of people wait until they are in the store to either select a brand, or determine how much and what they will buy. Large stores do this type of research by actually tracking the buyer’s eye movements as they look over merchandise and make a final decision. One agricultural marketer who produces honey products decided early on that having his product on the grocery store shelf with all the other competing products would not get him the sales he wanted. He decided to invent his own attractive point of purchase display and convinced chain store managers that it would increase his sales dramatically, as well as encourage shoppers to look at similar items nearby. It worked! Shoppers were attracted to the off-shelf display and purchased far more product than they might have otherwise. I

hasten to add that this particular marketer had a background in advertising and sales, and knew how to present his ideas of store managers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the same ideas to increase sales at your own individual venue. One of the main factors of point of purchase sales is to place items that you want to move near the final check out or cash register area. Check out is where shoppers make that final decision about additional purchases. You have probably been in the same situation — if you forget an item that is at the back of the grocery store, chances are you will not go back for it. If that item is close enough to check out, however, you’ll probably make a run for it. Placement then is the first of four major factors in successful point of purchase sales. Not all items will fit or even belong near check out, but how you display items encourages shoppers to think about additional purchases as they shop. The second factor de-

Today’s Marketing Objectives By: Melissa Piper Nelson Farm News Service News and views on agricultural marketing techniques. pends on attractive displays that draw the customer’s attention. You’ve seen farmers’ market vendors build pyramids of bottled sauces, serve enticing fruit samples and group colorful items together. Eye-catching displays ask buyers to spend more time shopping in a particular area, and the more time a shopper is in your booth or store, the more opportunity you have to sell additional items. Let’s clarify at this point that not all farm marketers feel comfortable with what they feel is “pushing items” on people. You will need to decide for yourself what your individual comfort level is with working to increase sales, but remember that sales are income. And income pays the bills. Impulse buying from a farm stand is certainly not oriented to consumer overspending for large ticket or non-food items. Items or product you want to sell

through point of purchase sales should be backed by advertising and promotion. This is the third factor of POP success. Advance advertising of items that will be prominently displayed plants the idea of buying before a customer comes into your store or booth. A simple flyer on the door of your business or an email message to farmers’ market customers a day ahead provide the stimulus for a shopper to search for the POP display. The fourth principle is always at the heart of a successful business — the product must inspire consumer confidence! While point of purchase sales are related to impulse buying, a poor product or something that is not worthy of your business will only serve to hurt future sales. If you wish to move a product, make sure it still represents the best of what you have to offer. There is a place for selling fruit

seconds or items that require immediate sales, but be sure to identify them for what they are. Customers expect that even impulse items will be worthy of their purchase. In today’s purchasing world, a bad customer experience travels fast and hurts repeat business. Point of purchase sales represent a good opportunity for you to engage in conversation with your customers and discuss the benefits of the product promoted. You can then introduce other products or new products one-on-one to shoppers and educate as well as sell. Direct marketing builds on this important seller to shopper relationship that inspires customer loyalty and sales. The above information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal or professional business counseling.

In An Emergency, Call 911!

Follow Us On

by Anna Meyerhoff, Farm Safety Educator, NYCAMH If there was an emergency on your farm, would you know what to do? It is important to act quickly and phone for help. In an emergency, call 911. Stay on the line until you are told to hang up. The dispatcher will ask you a lot of questions. Give them as much information as possible so that the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responders can be prepared to handle the emergency when they arrive. When calling 911, the dispatcher will ask you: • Your name and the phone number you are calling from • How many victims are there? How seriously injured are they? • Information about the emergency • Any care given to the victim(s)

• Special considerations that might make it hard for EMS to get to the victim • Your address and the location of the victims When giving directions, be specific. Give road names, visual landmarks and exact mileage. If possible, someone should wait at the roadway to direct them to the scene of the emergency. Remember: the sooner the EMS responders can get there, the sooner they can start helping the victim. It is important to be prepared and know how to call for help in an emergency. Talk with your family and coworkers about what to do. Make sure everyone knows the location of phones, as well as emergency exits, fire extinguishers and first aid kits. Practice a farm emergency response plan, and post important phone numbers and written directions to the farm near every phone.

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Phone 800-842-7775 Web site: www.stokesladders.com – ask for STOKES –

NURSERY INC. Quality Grower of Root Pruned Conifers 9500 S.E. 352nd Ave. • Boring, OR 97009 Home & Nursery (503) 663-5737 • Fax (503) 663-1488 Cell (503) 753-9050 www.loomisnursery.com


Women often seen as faces of agriculture

by Cyndie Sirekis Many women who work in a wide range of careers — everything from law and communications to education and sports — find it beneficial to join organizations that focus on professional development and that can help them advance in their chosen field. Women in agriculture are no different. Many are turning to Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Programs for professional development opportunities. “A goal of the Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee is to empower women to use their enthusiasm, dedication and talent to change perceptions about agriculture, family farms and ranches and the roles of women,” explained Terry Gilbert, chair of the committee and a farmer from Kentucky. The WLC coordinates educational programs

such as Food CheckOut Week in addition to offering leadership development programs open to all Farm Bureau women. Women’s Communications Boot Camp, which has been held annually each summer since 2007, is one opportunity Farm Bureau provides for women in agriculture from across the country to improve their skills. All of those selected to participate share the same goal, to become better communicators. Public speaking, media training, effective use of social media and tips for seeking elected office are among the topics covered. An enthusiastic group of 15 women of varied ages involved in all types of farming from around the nation recently participated in two and a half days of intensive training. “Again this year, a group of strangers come together, bonded

through sharing intense training exercises and left a few days later with new contacts — friends — that will last a lifetime,” Gilbert said. “It’s encouraging to hear how Boot Camp graduates plan to use their new skills in their communities.” Clearly, opportunities abound for women involved in agriculture today. Many of those opportunities center around helping people understand where food comes from and how it is grown or produced on family farms and ranches. It seems likely that we’ll be hearing more from women about food and farming down the road. A recently concluded national study of 70 land-grant universities found that undergraduate women enrolled in agriculture programs outnumber undergraduate men by more than

2,900 students. The Food and Agricultural Education Information System studied trends related to gender among undergraduate students enrolled in 14 agriculture academic areas at land-grant institutions between 2004 and 2011. The increase in undergraduate women studying agriculture is a relatively new trend.

FOCUS ON AGRICULTURE American Farm Bureau Federation As recently as 2004, men outnumbered women by more than 1,400 students. By 2008, the number of undergraduate women and undergraduate men enrolled in agriculture academic areas was about equal. This growth in undergraduate women studying agriculture tracks closely with an overall increase in women

farmers tracked by the Agriculture Department. The department’s most recent Census of Agriculture revealed that the number of women farm operators increased by 19 percent (to 1,008,943) between 2002 and 2007. Cyndie Sirekis is director of news services at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Jacto, Inc adds new VP of Sales Greg Imus has joined Jacto Inc. Tualatin, OR as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the company’s new Small Farm Solutions business unit. Jacto, Inc. is a subsidiary of Máquinas Agrícolas Jacto S/A of Pompéia, SP, Brazil. Jacto is Brazil’s market leader in spraying equipment for a variety of agricultural applications and does business globally. Jacto Small Farms Solutions (JSFS) will focus on the needs of small farmers around the world to aid them in efficient and economical production of crops. Imus’s primary role will be to develop and enhance sales and distribution in North America, Central America and South

Asia Pacific. Formerly VP of sales, marketing and technical services for Shindaiwa Inc., in Tualatin, OR, Imus’s most recent position was Area Manager for Europe, Oceania and Africa with Maruyama Manufacturing Company of Tokyo, Japan. “The prospect for working with Jacto on the new JSFS unit is very exciting,” affirms Imus. “There is certainly a good market opportunity. And, with Jacto’s engineering expertise and history of developing strong relationships with customers, we have the right combination to make a positive impact within our industry.

Lee Publications Subscriptions/Classified Ad Sweepstakes Grand Prize winner

James Barr (second from right) of 4-Barr Stock Farm, Arkport, NY was the lucky winner of the Lee Publications Subscriptions/Classified Ad Sweepstakes Grand Prize — a John Deere Gator 825. With him are (L-R) Ian Hitchener, sales representative for Lee Publications, John Griffith, sales representative for Z & M Ag and Turf and Bruce Button, general manager of Lee Publications. The JD Gator was supplied by Lee Publications in cooperation with Z & M Ag and Turf, with seven locations serving SW New York and NW Pennsylvania. Be sure to enter Lee Publications newest Subscriptions/Classified Ad Sweepstakes and have the chance to win a Club Car XRT 1550. Three ways to enter: 1. Buy a subscription. Your paid subscription to Country Folks will automatically get you entered to win a Club Car XRT 1550. 2. Place a classified reader ad. To place an ad call Peggy at 800-8362888, fax 518-673-2381, e-mail classified@leepub.com or mail it to CF Grower Classifieds, PO Box 121, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428. 3. No purchase necessary. Send a post card with your name, farm or company name; complete mailing address, phone number, e-mail address and date of birth (must be at least 18 years of age on Dec. 30, 2012 to win). Limit one post card entry per address.


OFA Board votes to form new association with ANLA

COLUMBUS, OHIO — The Board of Directors of OFA, the Association of Horticulture Professionals, voted in July to begin the process of organizing a new association with the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA). Following several months of working together in a joint venture, the working group comprising leaders from both organizations determined it was time to formally explore creating a new trade association. OFA and ANLA announced in January 2012 the formation of a joint venture to support business education and government relations activities. The vision statement adopted by OFA’s board of directors expressed the desire to form a new organization if it brings more value to our members and the industry. Since June 2011, OFA’s executive committee has been meeting with ANLA’s leaders about the opportunity for and viability of a formal relationship between

the two organizations. As early as the first meeting, the idea of forming a new organization has been discussed by the joint venture working group. “We are listening to our members. Results of a membership and organizational study performed at the end of last year indicated that members of both associations want the organizations to work closer to unify the industry,” said OFA President Mike McCabe, owner of McCabe’s Greenhouse & Floral in Lawrenceburg, IN. “They want their industry association to be all encompassing — one that touches and links all pieces of the horticulture industry, which can be offered by a new organization. After significant exploration and evaluation the elected leadership of OFA determined this is the best way to meet the needs of our members and the industry.” The multi-faceted horticulture industry is undergoing dramatic changes. Economic strains, genera-

tional differences and the changing interest in and need for gardening and landscape products are altering the way our products and services are valued by consumers. Governmental activity and inactivity, financial uncertainty and environmental changes are altering the way plants are being produced, bought and sold. In light of future opportunities and threats in this quickly changing environment, trade associations need to work together to build the capacity and governance structures to properly serve their members and the industry. The timeline is to have a new organization established no sooner than July of 2013 and no later than January 2014. “This is not a merger. This is taking the best of what both associations do to create a new organization that will advance the industry and better serve our members,” said Michael V. Geary, CAE, OFA’s chief executive officer. “We

have many details to work through, but OFA’s leaders are committed to ensuring that our members are involved in the decision-making process. It’s an exciting time for both organizations and the future of the horticulture industry. The combined 215 years of service and resources will create a powerful and meaningful association.” The new association will replace OFA and ANLA. In further developments of the joint venture, following ANLA Executive Vice President Bob Dolibois’ scheduled retirement at the end of the year, Geary will become the chief staff executive of both ANLA and OFA beginning on Jan. 1, 2013. The organizations will continue to be governed separately, but Geary will lead the day-to-day operations of both associations. To keep the industry up to date on the formation of the new organization, visit www.OneVoiceOneIndustry.com.

Hydroponics: Revolutionizing greenhouse growing

These days, greenhouse growers are faced with increased competition and the rising cost of labor, energy and crop inputs. To maximize return on their investment, growers are gradually diversifying their crops to include hydroponic vegetables. Smart growers have realized that sustainably produced fruits and vegetables are a better investment and a more efficient use of time and resources. Changing trends have increased opportunities for greenhouse growers to significantly increase sales and profits using their existing facilities operating year round. Today’s hydroponic growing methods have proven to make growing easier and more reliable than field growing. Labor costs and crop input costs are lower, and quality is much higher. Converting green-

houses from housing traditional plants to edible production is now very easy and low in cost. The future is bright for growers that choose to grow hydroponically in existing greenhouses. The traditional greenhouse grower is comfortable producing bedding plants, flowering potted plants, potted foliage plants and cut flowers. The regimen most familiar to seasoned greenhouse devotees is expensive and often financially unforgiving. These growers, used to a certain outmoded routine, are now faced with increased competition and the rising cost of labor, energy and crop inputs. To maximize return on their investment, growers are gradually diversifying their crops to include hydroponic vegetables — learning quickly that locally produced lettuce, tomatoes, cu-

cumbers and peppers are in high demand. Sustainably and locally grown food is a very hot topic. Smart growers have realized that fruits and vegetables, grown year round in greenhouses, are a better investment and a more efficient use of time and resources. Big budget consumers, like school districts and restaurant chains, are making the switch to locally grown foods. States are increasing the percentage of fresh produce that makes up school lunches, helping students and faculty lead healthier lifestyles. Individual consumers are more interested in where their food comes from, and this interest will continue to grow and drive demand further upwards. With transportation costs skyrocketing and food safety concerns at an all time high,

hauling food by truck, ship and air has become prohibitive. With all these compounding matters, it should be obvious that local is the way to go, but produce managers and buyers have some-

how not been able to meet the increased demand for locally grown foods. These changing trends have increased opportunities for

Hydroponics 8

Converting greenhouses from housing traditional plants to edible production is now very easy and low in cost.


Hydroponics from 7

greenhouse growers to significantly increase sales and profits using their existing facilities operating year round. But the hesitance with which growers are adding vegetables and fruit to their offerings is baffling. A pre-existing greenhouse can easily accommodate hydroponic growing with few adjustments. Why aren’t more growers making this clearly advantageous switch? Today’s hydroponic growing methods have proven to make growing easier and more reliable than field growing. Labor costs and crop input costs are lower, and quality is much higher.

Hydroponic and greenhouse yields are commonly ten times that of the field yield for a onecrop-per -year harvest. In some cases, hydroponic and greenhouse yields have achieved one hundred times the field yield of Bibb lettuce. One grower in California grows 3.2 million heads per acre per year! Hydroponic soilless growing offers savvy greenhouse growers the opportunity to increase the sales per square foot of their facilities by five or more times. To learn more about hydroponic growing, Dr. L ynette Morgan’s book Hydroponic Lettuce

These hydroponically-grown tomato plants stretch high towards the domed ceiling of the greenhouse.

Production and Dr. Howard M. Resh’s Hydroponic Food Production (the 7th edition came out in August) are good places to start. Converting greenhouses from housing traditional plants to edible production is now very easy and low in cost. Growers can convert their low to medium technology greenhouses to hydroponics without having to invest a substantial amount of money into a new greenhouse. Most growers, with some research and persistence, can tackle the project on their own. A growing number of colleges and vocational schools have agricultural departments and curriculums catering to students with futures as passionate, qualified growers. Banks and other leading institutions that champion the locally produced food movement will stand and support this new generation of growers. Many growers, new and old, have received lowinterest financing for their projects by said institutions that understand the economics behind these endeavors. From the introduction of corporate CSA programs to businesses providing locally grown food in lunchrooms, meetings and conferences, it is clear that growers are quickly gaining larger allies outside the agricultural industry. The future is bright for growers who choose to grow hydroponically in existing greenhouses. Low-cost investment

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Tart and sweet cherry production down Pennsylvania’s 2012 tart cherry production is forecast at 2.5 million pounds, 22 percent below last year’s production of 3.2 million pounds but up 9 percent from 2010, according to the Pennsylvania Field Office of USDA’s Nation-

production of 5.9 million pounds and 86 percent below the 2010 crop. All areas of New York were hit extremely hard with freezing temperatures that followed warm March weather. This weather sequence resulted in a record low production forecast.

U.S. tart cherry production is forecast at 73.1 million pounds, 68 percent below the 2011 production and 62 percent below 2010. New York is expected to produce 1.1 million pounds of tart cherries. This forecast is 81 percent below last year’s

al Agricultural Statistics Service. Utah, the largest producing state, expects a crop of 34 million pounds, down 3 percent from the 2011 crop but 48 percent above 2010. Production in Utah is expected to be similar to

last year’s level. Washington expects to produce 27 million pounds of tart cherries in 2012, up 29 percent from 2011 and 75 percent higher than 2010. In Washington, winter conditions were moderate and warm spring

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conditions allowed for an excellent bloom. Weather during the bloom period was mild, allowing for good pollination. Michigan’s production is forecast at 5.5 million pounds, down 97 percent from 2011 and down 96 percent from 2010. In Michigan, normally the largest producing state, record high temperatures in early spring led to premature development of trees. This was followed by below normal temperatures and continual frost events throughout the state. Additionally, pollination conditions were poor. The majority of growers lost all of their harvestable crop this year. Oregon’s production is forecast at 2.5 million pounds, equal to 2011 but 108 percent above the production in 2010. Oregon growers reported a good blossom set and pollination levels. Wisconsin production is forecast at 0.5 million pounds, down 93 percent from last year and down 91 percent from 2010. In Wisconsin, early warm spring temperatures caused trees to bud, followed by several days with temperatures below freezing at night. U.S. sweet cherry production is forecast at 382,150 tons, up 11 percent from 2011 and 22 percent above 2010. The Washington crop forecast of 235,000 tons is up 18 percent from 2011. Winter conditions were moderate and warm spring conditions allowed for an excellent bloom and resulted in good pollination levels. The Michigan crop is forecast at 3,300 tons, 82 percent below the 2011 production. Record high temperatures early in the spring caused premature development of trees. This was followed by below normal temperatures and continual frost events later in the season, leading to a significantly smaller crop than normal. New York’s crop is forecast at 250 tons, 64 percent below the 2011 crop of 700 tons, and 75 percent below the 2010 crop. Growers reported that warm temperatures in March followed by freezing temperatures in April drastically reduced their production potential.


OFA Short Course a study in innovation

by William McNutt For the past 15 years, the OFA Short Course has been the largest held annually in the Columbus Ohio Convention Center. This year was no exception, as it moved up 50 spots to be the 150th largest on the national scene, continuing to occupy the number one spot as the largest horticultural event in the U.S. for garden center retailers, greenhouse and nursery growers, landscapers, florists and interior landscapers. More than 750 exhibit sites from 600 companies covered seven acres and 140 educational sessions were offered. Attendees came from 25 countries and most of the U.S., for a total attendance of over 9,000. Sneak peeks of new flower varieties for the coming season drew grower interest, along with new types of ground covers. Much interest was created in types of vegetables that can be grown intermingled with standard decorative varieties of flowers, together with the addition of food courts to existing garden centers. OFA’s 84th trade show was truly a study in innovation for those attending. Of major interest was the announcement during the four day convention that American Nursery and Landscape Association and OFA — The Association of Horticulture Professionals, were joining together under the leadership of Michael V. Geary, current OFA chief executive officer, to create a new organization. Following the retirement at the end of this year of ANLA Executive Vice President Bob Dolobois, Geary will become chief executive of both OFA and ANLA. Both organizations will continue to be governed separately, with Geary leading the day to day operations of each. This is the culmination of a study to meet member requests that both organizations work more closely together to unify the industry. OFA also announced at the Short Course that Dr. Charlie Hall had been appointed as its chief economist. Hall is a professor at Texas A&M University, holding the Ellison Endowed Chair in International floriculture. His expertise in production and marketing of Green Industry crops has gained national recognition, with major emphasis on strategic management, market outlook cost accounting, and financial analysis for industry firms. As one of the first steps toward organizational coordination, OFA and ANLA announced the joint development of a new joint event for Jan. 31-

Feb. 2 in Nashville, TN, to be know as “Next Level.” The event is designed to help participants from both groups clarify a next level for themselves, expose them to new ideas and insights, and connect with like minded individuals, with a focus on education that emphasizes working on, not just in, their individual businesses. While this may turn out to be one giant networking conference, it can only be of benefit to those attending from both organizations. Keynote speaker Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and Senior Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, an integral part of which is serving as consultant in the set up of the famous White House Garden stimulated by First Lady Michelle Obama. He assisted in the garden’s establishment, with regular work visitation and nutritional instruction given to children from many D.C. low income districts. The first year’s harvest provided 2,000 pounds of produce, primarily distributed to area food banks. Now nearing the end of its third year of operation, yields have doubled, with about twothirds of the fresh produce now used in the White House kitchen. The remainder goes to charitable agencies. This program has helped add bi-partisan legislation for school lunch improvement to the Farm Bill, including promotion of school grounds gardens and expanding funding for specialty crops. Many universities, especially those with agricultural colleges, set aside land for student gardens. Kass said a national conversation is opening up about the need to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. This spring, several OFA member companies, including breeders and garden centers, launched new or expanded offerings in the edible plant category to meet increasing demand for vegetables. Research done by Plant Peddler and Banner Greehouses, presented at a well attended educational session, pointed out that filling seasonal production gaps with vegetables and other alternative crops reduces overhead costs, but expanding crop sales does not help if it doesn’t increase profits. Primary emphasis should be given to utilizing spare capacity to produce fruits and vegetables marketed directly to food coops, institutional and restaurant facilities, produce auctions and the like. Partnering with other growers and/or contracting with outlets, CSA providers, produce auctions, and grocery stores can also

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help assure steady sales. The list of alternative crops that can be grown inside or outside by those considering such a move are many, including green beans, Swiss chard, lettuce, cucumbers, herbs, peppers, squash, tomatoes, berries. OFA members at this session were told to be sure they understood the possible risks and to remember it’s always “flowers first.” Their research has shown that tomatoes were the least profitable, while lettuce came in first. Another well attended session focused on garden centers looking for extra income, utilizing current facilities. Adding food facilities to existing locations has become a primary source of extra income, but one with many pitfalls, particularly in meeting health regulations. It’s a natural for garden centers that already attract younger customers looking for sources of local, sustainable or organically grown food. Younger consumers are looking and willing to pay for, foods of this type, according to Jeff Warschauer of Nexus Corp., who led a panel of garden center operators who have already made the transition. Trends now range from cafes that offer simple ready-to-serve foods such as salads, pre-made sandwiches, pastry and other ready-to-eat foods, which keep costs down. Others prefer to offer food prepared on site in a full kitchen, which requires a large investment. Charlie Cole of Cole Gardens, Concord, NH, has set up a Saturday direct market at his garden center that can accommodate 30 vendors at a charge of $30 each. This not only brings increased income, but increased traffic through Cole Gardens. Cheryl Street of Briggs Garden and Home has set up a café type restaurant in a rebuilt garden center. She has one vendor do some type of demonstration each week,

along with regular cooking demos that include foods sold at the market. Most of her promotion is done online, along with local radio. Foods served are easy to prepare, featuring high margin items such as soups, salads and cookies. She buys chicken already frozen, and baked goods that can be held over. Brigg’s centers offer free wi-fi, which Street feels attracts customers to the garden center. Continuing the emphasis on food production, Bob Jones, Chefs Garden, OFA board member from Ohio, and Lloyd Traven, Peace Tree Farm in Pennsylvania, addressed the “naturally grown” question since both are exponents of sustainable farming. Traven says that organic and sustainable practices are at odds, that the biggest problem with organic is fertility, not pesticide management. He stated emphatically that organic rules are ridiculous — rules for organic certification are now set by the USDA and state by state interpretation is not allowed.

OFA 11

Mike McCabe, Lawrenceburg, IN, was elected to a second term as OFA president.


Growers Supply introduces LumiGrow® Pro Series horticultural lights The most powerful LED horticultural lights DYERSVILLE, IA — Growers Supply has teamed up with LumiGrow, Inc., the leader in smart horticultural lighting, to offer LED lighting solutions for greenhouse and controlledenvironment agriculture environments. With the innovative LumiGrow Pro 325 and 650 Horticultural Lights, growers will reduce energy costs by up to 70 percent and boost yields by providing the exact light levels and spectra that plants need.

“With the LumiGrow Pro series, growers no longer need to choose between boosting yields and controlling operating costs,” said LumiGrow CEO Kevin Wells. He added,“The LumiGrow Pro series delivers the best of both worlds: tremendous power and energy efficiency unrivaled by any other light.” LumiGrow Pro series lights feature a 50,000 hour rating without degradation, lasting up to 10 times

OFA from 10 Jones said there is no question that farmers using genetically engineered crop seeds have an easier time with weeds than those having to remove weeds by hoeing, but many of his client chefs want chemical free produce. With 20 percent growth in the past five years, organically grown crops cost more, but customers seem willing to pay, most feeling that better nutrition comes from more “natural” cultivation methods. Chefs Garden caters to chefs, many of whom come to the farm’s commercial kitchen to experiment with various produce and then contract to have it grown for them. This started when the Jones’s Farms transitioned from selling at farm markets, where chefs were buying much of their

longer than high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps. Further savings are achieved because these fixtures run 70 percent cooler than HID lamps, reducing greenhouse cooling requirements. The LumiGrow Pro series is available in two models. Pro 325, with a typical energy consumption of 325 watts, is designed for commercial greenhouses and controlled environment agriculture, and will provide growers with 70 percent energy savings compared to a 1,000-watt

HID light. For growers and scientists who require a higher PAR output, the Pro 650 typically uses 650 watts and reduces energy costs by 40 percent versus a 1,000-watt HID light. The LumiGrow Pro 650 doubles the red and blue photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) output of 1,000-watt HID fixtures and the LumiGrow Pro 325 achieves parity with 1,000-watt HID lights. For more information or to order, call Growers Supply at 1-800-4769715.

produce and asking for specific items for their restaurants. Now Chefs Garden ships to 49 states and 15 countries. It took awhile but they have learned how to ship produce long distances and have it arrive in mint condition. Bob Jones says he receives little pressure to go organic, but chefs do request assurance about the growing practices used. He says most of their product is 24 hours from field to plate, still growing when ordered, then harvested and shipped. The company provides more than 600 varieties of heirloom and specialty vegetables to its customers, with a total work force of 120 under the management of Bob Jones and his brother Lee, together with their father Bob Jones Sr.

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2012 National Christmas Tree Association Convention and Trade Show held Aug 8-10 in Sacramento, CA The California Christmas Tree Association was busy giving helpful information to attendees. Photos by Joan Kark-Wren

Attendees of the National Christmas Tree Association 2012 convention had the opportunity to judge the trees in the Christmas Tree Contest.

The owner of Full Circle Wreath Company, Rueben Orozco, demonstrates making a quick and easy centerpiece.

David Beresford and Will Payne of Sierra Cascade Christmas Trees, LLC talk with attendees about their Christmas products line. The scented pine cones and reindeer were a big hit!

Linda Spilker of Nebraska talks with Rick Dungy after her name was drawn as the winner of the Stihl chainsaw and accesories.

Tim Zimmerman, Mitchell Metal Products, gave a demonstration on using Mitchell Wreath Rings.

Marshall and Pati Patmos from Westmoreland, NH look over the winning wreaths at the convention.


SWEEPSTAKES Save Money and enter our Sweepstakes! Save Money . . . when you take this opportunity to subscribe to Country Folks Grower Midwest or Western editions, the monthly regional newspaper that covers all segments of commercial horticulture. Each issue is filled with important information for Greenhouse, Nursery, and Fruit & Vegetable Growers, as well as Landscapers, and Garden Center and Roadside Stand Marketers. Enter our Sweepstakes!* When you subscribe, you are automatically entered in our sweepstakes for a chance to win a Club Car XRT 1550. There are 2 other ways to enter.

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An introduction to Organic Certification Requirements

by Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota Having trouble understanding the requirements for organic certification? If so, you’re not alone! This overview is intended to provide an understandable introduction to the National Organic Program regulation and certification requirements. The National Organic Program Final Rule (NOP) was developed by the USDA to implement the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA). The NOP is based on recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which was appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to provide advice to implement OFPA and to review substances allowed in organic production and handling. The USDA issued the first proposed rule in December, 1997. That proposed set of standards would have allowed genetic engineering, irradiation, sewage sludge, antibiotics, re-feeding of animal by-products, and other practices long prohibited in organic agriculture. That proposal received 275,603 comments, and was withdrawn. The second proposed rule was issued in March, 2000. It was much more consistent with existing organic standards than the first proposed rule. It received about 40,000 comments, and served as the basis for the “Final Rule,” issued in December 2000. The Final Rule contains an extensive list of definitions, organic production and processing standards, and the “National List” of allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances. It also contains labeling, certification, accreditation, enforcement, and testing requirements. The regulation went into effect on October 21, 2002. The text of the rule, along with policy statements, program updates, a list of accredited certifying agents, complaint procedures, and other related information

can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/nop. Under the regulation, any agricultural product can be produced using organic methods. The NOP covers all agricultural products labeled and sold as “organic” or “organically produced.” The rule covers organic vegetable growers, orchardists, livestock producers, ranchers, processors, and handlers. Parts of the regulation even apply to retailers. It is good for organic operators to understand the requirements for other sectors, since these may affect parts of their operation. While the NOP regulation is relatively new, organic standards and certification have existed in the United States since the mid-1970s, beginning with California Certified Organic Farmers, Oregon Tilth, the Organic Growers and Buyers Association (MN), and the Northeast Organic Farming Association (Northeast). As the markets for organic products grew, so did the number of organic certification agencies. Though the standards of the different agencies, and the states which defined “organic” through legislation, were similar, there were differences. These differences sometimes resulted in trade difficulties and disputes between regions over whose standards were more “organic.” OFPA was passed by Congress in 1990 to begin the process of resolving the differences and establishing one set of national standards. Those standards are now in place. All certifiers who operate in the U.S., and all certifiers who certify products sold as “organic” in the U.S., must follow the NOP, and they must be accredited by the USDA to show that they have the competence and freedom from conflict of interest to certify organic products. “Organic production” is defined by the regulation as “a production system that is managed … to respond to site-specific conditions by inte-

grating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” In simplified terms, the National Organic Program standards for crop farms are as follows: • 3 years (36 months prior to harvest) with no application of prohibited materials (no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or GMOs) prior to certification; • distinct, defined boundaries for the operation; • proactive steps to prevent contamination from adjoining land uses; • implementation of an Organic System Plan, with proactive fertility management systems; conservation measures; and environmentally sound manure, weed, disease, and pest management practices; • monitoring of the operation’s management practices to assure compliance; • use of natural inputs and/or approved synthetic substances on the National List, provided that proactive management practices are implemented prior to use of approved inputs;

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O RGAN I CS • no use of prohibited substances; • no use of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs), defined in the rule as “excluded methods”; • no use of sewage sludge or irradiation; • use of organic seeds, when commercially available (must not use seeds treated with prohibited synthetic materials, such as fungicides); • use of organic seedlings for annual crops; • restrictions on the use of raw manure and compost;

• must maintain or improve the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the soil, minimize soil erosion, and implement soil building crop rotations; • fertility management must not contaminate crops, soil, or water with plant nutrients, pathogens, heavy metals, or prohibited substances; • maintenance of buffer zones, depending on risk of contamination; • prevent commingling on split operations (the entire farm does not have to be converted to organic production, pro-

vided that sufficient measures are in place to segregate organic from non-organic crops and production inputs); • no field burning to dispose of crop residues (may only burn to suppress disease or stimulate seed germination – flame weeding is allowed); and • no residues of prohibited substances exceeding 5 percent of the EPA tolerance (certifier may require residue analysis if there is reason to believe that a crop has come in contact with

Certification 15


• Since 1964 • Specializing in Trade Publications, Trade Shows, Commercial Printing & Mailing Services

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Farm Weekly Newspapers - since 1972, serving fulltime farmers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic market areas. The number one agricultural publication in this market! Target your audience with 4 regional editions. Monthly Equine Publication Covering New York, New England, Northern Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Reaching the horseowners in this market area as the official publication of over 25 Associations. since 1979, serving heavy construction contractors, landscaping, aggregate producers and recyclers in the Northeast and MidAtlantic Markets every month. Qualified readership is guaranteed to get you results. Country Folks

since 1990, serving the commercial greenhouses, vegetable and fruit growers, and nurseries in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Northwest market areas. Reach your target audience with this monthly publication that is by far the number one media for these industries. Is our newest publication. Started in 2011 to serve an important and growing segment of horticulture, this newspaper is targeted at businesses active in commercial scale growing and winemaking in the United States. In addition to a six times a year mailing, a searchable version is available to our online readers. WASTE HANDLING EQUIPMENT NEWS, since 1992, serving asphalt/concrete recyclers, composting facilities, construction demolition companies, wood waste recyclers and scrap metal recyclers with 2 monthly editions that cover the entire United States. NORTH AMERICAN QUARRY NEWS since 1998, serving the quarry, sand & gravel, hot mix asphalt and ready mix concrete industries with one national edition. This is the fastest growing publication for these markets.

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BioSafe Systems announces new and improved TerraClean 5.0 Bactericide/Fungicide BioSafe Systems introduces TerraClean® 5.0. The new enhanced labeling provides a new active ingredient statement as well as use labeling instructions. TerraClean 5.0 controls a wide variety of soil borne diseases, such as botrytis, pythium, phytophthora, rhizoctonia and verticillium, which can be used for both horticultural and agricultural applications. TerraClean 5.0 is highly effective as a drip line treatment and may be used at any stage of plant growth. It stimulates stronger root growth and efficient nutrient uptake. New labeling allows for preplant soil treatments for consecutive cropping applications, and soil treatments prior to seeding and planting at the curative rate. TerraClean 5.0 is available in 5, 30,

55, and 275 gallon sizes. For more information about TerraClean 5.0, contact BioSafe Systems at 888-273-3088.

Washington Organic Week (WOW!) Tilth producers of Washington hosts weeklong campaign to connect consumers with Washington Organic products & growers SEATTLE, WA — It’s official! Sept. 915 is declared Washington Organic Week via proclamation from Governor Christine Gregoire. Throughout the week, Tilth Producers of Washington will partner with Washington State growers, retail outlets, restaurants and likeminded organizations to offer statewide events highlighting the benefits of Organic products grown in Washington. Events will offer consumers unique opportunities to meet organic farmers and connect with the people that make healthful, fresh, and environmentally and socially responsible food available to

Washington State consumers. “With more than 100,000 acres of organic farm land, Washington is the third largest organic producer in the nation,” said Diane Dempster, board president of Tilth Producers of Washington. “Washington Organic Week celebrates the benefits of organic agriculture on local economies and the health of Washingtonians.” Tilth Producers of Washington is proud to offer a full week of events in partnership with its sponsors. For more information visit www.tilthproducers.org, call 206-632-7506, or email organic@tilthproducers.org

Certification from 14 prohibited substances or was produced using GMOs). All operations producing and/or selling organic products must keep records to verify compliance with the regulation. Such records must: • be adapted to the particular operation; • fully disclose all activities and transactions of the certified operation in sufficient detail as to be readily understood and audited; • be maintained for at least five years beyond their creation; and • be sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the regulation. The operator must make the records available for inspection. Organic System Plan forms are typically provided by certifying agents as part of the application process. The plans must be updated annually, and operators are required to notify their certifying agents of all changes to the operation which might affect the operation’s certification status. Organic operations must follow their Organic System Plans, and they must be inspected

at least annually. All producers and handlers who sell over $5000/year in organic products must be certified. Producers and handlers who sell under $5,000/year do not have to be certified, but they still have to follow the NOP. Non-certified organic producers can sell their products directly to customers or to retail stores, but their products cannot be used as organic ingredients or feed by other operations, and they cannot use the “USDA Organic” seal. Though the NOP requirements are similar to previous organic standards, there are some significant differences, and there are areas of continued controversy, confusion, and clarification. Despite the level of detail in the NOP, some interpretation is required for local variations and new conditions. It is always a good idea to check with certification agencies to get your questions answered, especially before purchasing or applying materials. For more information on Organic Certification go to www.extension .org/organic_production Source: www.extension.org


Changes in U.S.-European Union organic trade open opportunities

OLYMPIA, WA — Organic growers and processors in Washington should benefit from increased sales to the European Union (EU) now that the EU and the United States are operating under a new organic equivalency partnership that went into effect June 1. “It should be a very good thing for our organic businesses,” WSDA Director Dan Newhouse said. “Washington features one of the premier organic industries in the U.S. and the new arrangement to streamline organic trade with Europe will reduce costs for our organic exporters and make our organic foods and ingredients more available to the 27 countries that make up the European Union. “While most of Washington’s organic trade focuses on Canada and Pacific Rim nations, we’ve been active in Europe as well. So this innovative arrangement is very exciting as organic production is a vital component of Washington’s diverse agriculture.” Previously, producers and companies that wanted to trade on both sides of the Atlantic had to obtain separate certifications to two standards, resulting in a double set of fees, inspections and paperwork. The United States signed a similar partnership with Canada in 2009. Additional organic equivalency arrangement conversations have been held with South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, according to a USDA news release. U.S. and EU organic standards have slight differences; however both sides determined that their programs were equivalent, allowing the agreement to go ahead. To comply with the new agreement, U.S. apples and pears must be produced without antibiotics, products must travel with an EU import certificate completed by a USDA-accredited certifying agent and products must be either produced within the U.S. or have had final processing and packaging occur within the U.S.

Potential exporters may visit WSDA’s International Markets web page and a Guide to International Organic Markets for details on how exported organic products are evaluated by staff. American sales of organic products to the EU are expected to grow substantially within the first few years of the new arrangement. WSDA’s Organic Food Program, which is accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, upholds the integrity of the organic label through certification and inspection of organic crops, livestock producers, processors, handlers and retailers. The program is the oldest and largest state organic certification agency in the U.S. In 2011, WSDA certified more than 90,000 acres of crops as organic, including forage, tree fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, beans and oilseeds. WSDA certifies more than 25 dairies as organic in Washington, bringing premium prices to farmers in that sector and others. WSDA’s program is entirely fee-funded. Employees certify more than 1,100 organic clients and register 750 material inputs for organic production. A list of WSDA certified operations, as well as information about organic certification, is posted online at http://agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/Organic/. Statistics regarding the status of the organic food industry in Washington show vibrant growth, with 64,000 acres certified organic in 2006 and a peak of 108,000 acres in 2009. In 2011, the top three organic commodities by acreage were: organic forage, 30 percent; tree fruit, 21 percent; and vegetables, 17 percent. Sixty-four percent of the state’s 730 certified organic farms on are located in Eastern Washington. In 2010, the latest figures available, Grant, Ben-

ANLA and OFA announce first joint event

OFA — the Association of Horticulture Professionals and the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) have announced the development of a new, joint event. The new event, named “Next Level,” will be held Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. According to OFA CEO Michael Geary, “Every individual, every organization has a next level, the next dimension of performance and results to realize. The Next Level event is designed to help participants clarify their own next level, expose them to the ideas and insights to help bridge that

gap and connect them to like-minded colleagues who can support their journey.” The Next Level event will be unique in its focus on education that focuses attendees on working on their business, not just in their business. ANLA and OFA have retained the services of nationally-recognized educational event designer Jeffrey Cufaude to help plan this meeting. He will work with a planning committee made up of members from both organizations. With direction from volunteer leaders, an initial meeting with the staffs of OFA and ANLA, held in June,

defined the goals for the conference. Bob Dolibois, ANLA’s executive vice president stated, “Our industry faces a new normal in terms of the economy, our customers and our competitors. The top industry firms of the next 20 years need to identify how their businesses have to change in order to enjoy continued suc-

cess. This meeting is the place where that will happen.” The educational program is currently under development. Further details will be available at the end of September. For more information on the partnership between OFA and ANLA and the Next Level event, visit www.onevoiceoneindustry.com.

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ton and Walla Walla counties were the top three farmgate sales counties for organic commodities. The top three counties in Western Washington were Skagit, Pierce and King. Whether shopping at a farmers market, grocery store, on-farm store or participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share, consumers should look for a U.S. Department of Agriculture organic label, certifier seal or ask to see an organic certificate. Brenda Book, manager of WSDA’s Organic Food Program, notes these measures provide evidence that the product was grown on farms that are inspected to ensure compliance with nationwide organic standards. For a product to be labeled organic, certified organic farmers must use organic seeds and refrain from using most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Organic feed is required for livestock and animals must be allowed outside on a regular basis. Book said that small farm operations that sell less than $5,000 of agriculture products a year can use the label if following organic rules, but certification is optional to keep costs down.


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Number / Classification 35 Announcements 50 Applicators 80 Auctions 110 Bedding Plants 120 Bees-Beekeeping 130 Bird Control 155 Building Materials/ Supplies 165 Business Opportunities 210 Christmas Trees 235 Computers 330 Custom Services 415 Employment Wanted 440 Farm Machinery For Sale 445 F a r m M a c h i n e r y Wanted 470 Financial Services 500 For Sale 505 Forklifts 510 Fresh Produce, Nursery 515 Fruit Processing Eq. 530 Garden Supplies 535 Generators 570 G r e e n h o u s e Plugs/Cuttings 575 Greenhouse Supplies 580 Groundcover 605 Heating 610 Help Wanted 680 Irrigation 700 Lawn & Garden 805 Miscellaneous 820 Nurseries 840 Nursery Supplies 855 Orchard Supplies 910 Plants 950 Real Estate For Sale 955 Real Estate Wanted 1035 Seeds & Nursery 1040 Services Offered 1130 Tractors 1135 Tra c t o r s, Pa r t s & Repair 1140 Trailers 1155 Tree Moving Services 1165 Trees 1170 Truck Parts & Equipment 1180 Trucks 1190 Vegetable 1205 Wanted

Announcements CHECK YOUR AD - ADVERTISERS should check their ads. Lee Publications, Inc. shall not be liable for typographical, or errors in publication except to the extent of the cost of the first months insertion of the ad, and shall also not be liable for damages due to failure to publish an ad. Adjustment for errors is limited to the cost of that portion of the ad wherein the error occurred. Report any errors to Peg Patrei at 518-6733237 ext. 111 or 800-8362888. NEED BUSINESS CARDS? Full color glossy, heavy stock. 250 ($45.00); 500 ($60.00); 1,000 ($75.00). Call your sales representative or Lee Publications 518-673-0101 Beth bsnyder@leepub.com YARD SIGNS: 16x24 full color with stakes, double sided. Stakes included. Only $15.00 each. Call your sales representative or Beth at Lee Publications 518-673-0101 or bsnyder@leepub.com. Please allow 7 to 10 business days when ordering.

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Farm Equipment FOR SALE: MINI STRAW BALERS, makes ornamental bales 3”x4”x7” or 4”x5½x10” bales. Sell well at auctions, markets, stands. Low inputs, great returns. Send for information. Countryside Machine Shop, 2682 460TH Road, Gentry, MO 64453

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Seeds & Nursery Help Wanted

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WRITERS WANTED Country Folks Grower is looking for self-motivated free-lance writers to contribute to their monthly horticulture trade paper. Knowledge of the industry a must. Articles could include educational topics as well as feature articles. Please send resume to Joan Kark-Wren jkarkwren@leepub.com or call 518-673-0141

Hazzard’s Plants and SeedsOver 8000 seed varieties and thousands of plants availablewholesale and retail. Easy order on-line All pictured. www.hazzardsgreenhouse.com or call 989-872-5057

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E-mail announcements of your regional event(s) to: jkarkwren@leepub.com We must receive your information, plus a contact phone number, prior to the deadline that’s noted under the Announcements heading on the 1st page of these Grower Classifieds. *** SEP 6-7 Montana Nursery & Landscape Association Fall Tour Bozeman Area. Call 406755-3079 or e-mail ED@plantingmontana.com. SEP 10-12 OFA Perennial Production & Retail Conference Amway Grang Hotel, Grand Rapids, Michigan. This unique event offers an intimate educational and networking experience focused on perennials. Through seminars, a tour, hands-on workshops for producers and retailers, and a trade show, learn everything you need to know about perennial production and retailing. All registrations include breakfast, lunch, trade show admission, reception, and networking events. On Internet at http://perennial conference.org/perennial/re gistration/perennial/ registration.aspx SEP 11 Fall Tour Montana Nursery & Landscape Association, Bitterroot Valley, MT. Call 406-7553079 or e-mail ED@

plantingmontana.com. SEP 14-15 WALP’s Annual Landscape Industry Written Certification Event South Puget Sound Community College, Building 32, 2011 Mottman Rd SW, Olympia, WA 98512. 8 am. More Information info@walp.org. Call 425-9670729 or e-mail info@walp.org. On Internet at www.walp.org SEP 14-16 Pacific Northwest Bonsai Clubs Association 2012 Convention Vancouver Hilton Hotel, 301 West 6th St., Vancouver, WA. The convention will feature a world class bonsai exhibit, classes, a bonsai marketplace and demonstrations and workshops by renowned bonsai artists. Call 503-504-7760. On I n t e r n e t a t www.portlandbonsai.org SEP 18 Sustainability Standard for Nursery & Greenhouse Production: Overview & Mock Inspection North Willamette Research & Extension Center (NWREC)

Aurora, OR. 8 am - noon. Pre-resitration is required. Contact Roberta Anderson, 503-493-1066 ext. 31 or e-mail Roberta@foodalliance.org. SEP 19-20 Canwest Hort Show Vancouver Convention Centre, West Building, 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC The show includes over 350 booths and many activities and attracts 3,000 attendees. On Internet at www.canwesthortshow.com SEP 20-22 Ozark Red, White & Blooms: America in Bloom Symposium & Award Programs Feyetteville, AR. Call 614487-1117 or e-mail aib@ofa.org. On Internet at www.americainbloom.org SEP 27-29 The landscape Show Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Dr., Orlando, FL. The show draws over 7500 attendees, over 400 exhibitors and offers many activities. On Internet at www.fngla.org OCT 25-27 Planet Green Industry Conference Kentucky Expo Center & the Louisville Downtown Marriott, Louisville, KY. On Internet at www.Green IndustryConference.org NOV 2-6 2012 Irrigation Show & Education Conference Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL. Call e m a i l info@irrigationshow.org.

DEC 4-5 Northwest Environmental Conference & Tradeshow Portland, OR. Focuses on best management practices in environmental protection, as well as other areas of current interest to the business sector, including resource efficiencies, health & safety, supply chain management, product standards and emerging policies. Contact Catherine Van Zyl, 800-9856322 or e-mail Catherine@nebc.org. JAN 9-10 2013 MT Green Expo Holiday Inn Grand Montana, Billings MT. Call 406-7553079 or e-mail ED@plantingmontana.com. JAN 23-25 Idaho Hort Expo Boise Centre on the Grove, Boise, Idaho. Contact Ann Bates, e-mail abates@ inlagrow.org. On Internet at www.inlagrow.org JA. 31 WALP / WSNLA 2013 Conference Hilton Vancouver - Vancouver, WA. 12 am. Save the dates for “Game On” WALP’s Annual Conference held jointly with WSNLA and scheduled for Jan. 31 - Feb. 2. Watch the WALP website for more information as it becomes available on sponsorship and registration. Call 425-967-0729. On Internet at www.walp.org FEB 1-6 28th Annual NAFDMA Convention - Pacific Northwest 2013 Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Portland, OR.


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C H R I S TMA S S E CTI O N National Wreath Contest ~ Undecorated Catagory Held at the National Christmas Tree Convention in August

Rene Scarcella, McMenomy Highland Tree Farm in Washington, won 1st place in the undecorated wreath contest.

The second place winner in the undecorated wreath catagory was Paul Smith of Cool Springs Nursery in North Carolina.

Gary Hague, Hague’s Chrstmas Trees in Pennsylvania won 3rd place. Photos by Joan Kark-Wren

National Wreath Contest ~ Decorated Catagory Held at the National Christmas Tree Convention in August, Sacramento, CA

Gary Hague, Hague’s Christmas Trees, Pennsylvania, won 1st place in the Decorated catagory in the National Wreath Contest.

Rene Scarcella, McMenomy Highland Tree Farm in Washington, took 2nd place.

Paul Smith, Cool Springs Nursery, took 3rd place with this decorated wreath at the NCTA’s 2012 Convention held in Sacramento, CA.

Dennis Tompkins receives Outstanding Service Award

The National Christmas Tree Association

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Service Award to Dennis Tompkins during the association’s Annual Convention & Trade Show. Tompkins, who hails from Bonney Lake, WA, was presented with the award at the Closing Banquet held Aug. 10 in Sacramento, CA. First created in 2002, the Outstanding Service Award is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Real Christmas Tree industry over the course of many years, and is one

of the highest honors that NCTA bestows upon individuals. “Dennis has touched many lives in the Christmas Tree industry,” said Bob Schaefer, a grower from Oregon who presented the award to Tompkins. “Working with many Christmas tree growers over the years, he has been an instructor at various tree root disease workshops as well as a valued member of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association for more than 35

years. I’m confident in saying that many growers are better at their business because of working with Dennis.” In addition to his many years in the Christmas Tree business, Tompkins is a Certified Arborist, urban forester and Washington State University Master Gardener. He has been certified by the International Society of Aboriculture (ISA) and received the 2007 "Arborist of the Year" award from the

Pacific Northwest Chapter of the ISA. He served as editor of the Christmas Tree Lookout magazine, published by the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association from 1985 through 1990, when he then took over the job as editor of the NCTA’s American Christmas Tree Journal through 2008. He is a nationally known speaker and spokesman for the Christmas T ree industry.


Keep the Spirit Alive

Christmas Tree growers have been donating trees to military families for years. In 2005, FedEx heard about the efforts and wanted to know how they could become involved — and Trees for Troops, a program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation (CSF), was born. The Trees for Troops program has helped to bring the Christmas spirit to U.S. military families across the nation, delivering more than 100,000 Real Christmas Trees since 2005. In 2011, Trees for Troops, with the help of partner FedEx, delivered more than 19,000 Christmas Trees to 65 military bases across the U.S. and overseas. The Trees that are donated to the

by Kelly Gates Tim Stettler and his family have always loved choosing and cutting their own Christmas tree. For many years, Tim, his wife Krista and their children, Asher and Callie, ventured out to a local tree farm during the holiday season to select just the right conifer for Christmas. But when the tree farm they frequented closed, the Stettlers were forced to find another vendor. According to Tim, that farm eventually closed too. And then another. And another. “The owner of the first farm we went to told us that he was growing trees to help put his children through college,” Tim told Country Folks Grower. “That was always in the back of our minds over the years. Then, when we had to keep finding new farms to get our own trees, we ultimately decided to start our own Christmas tree business.” While the family tree farm,North Pole Pines of Farr West, Utah, solved the problem of where to find a Christmas tree each year, it also served another purpose. Like the grower they had met as customers, the Stettlers, now growers themselves, put the profits toward their kids’ educations. It took a number of

program come from more than 800 tree farms in more than 29 states across the country. This program is a win-win for all. Many Christmas tree growers are from military backgrounds or have children or relatives in the armed forces. They believe a real Christmas tree is an integral part of a family’s holiday traditions. The military families that receive the trees often have loved ones overseas or may have just returned themselves and may not have the time, money or resources to purchase and decorate a tree. They are truly appreciative of a gift that reminds them of home and their family.

FedEx, who has donated more than 290,000 miles to this program plus tons of man hours, loves being associated with something so meaningful. In April 2012, Trees for Troops was named one of 20 finalists out of 300 submissions in the Joining Forces Community Challenge. The Challenge, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in 2011, is designed to recognize organizations and individuals with a demonstrated, genuine and deep desire to be of service to military families. Two representatives from the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, Nigel Manley, chair of the Foundation and Amy

Christmas Section Mills, assistant director for CSF, participated in a reception at the Pentagon, attended a “meet and greet” with Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden at the White House and attended a USO luncheon on April 11, 2012. The Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, based in Chesterfield, MO, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that advances the Christmas spirit for kids, families and the environment. Trees for Troops® is one of its major programs. Ninety-eight percent of all donations go directly to its programs. For more details or to donate, visit www.ChristmasSPIRITFoundation.o rg. Please help us keep the spirit of Christmas

The Trees for Troops charity has delivered over 100,000 trees to military families since 2005.

alive by participating in this “American Made” cause. Visit our website

at www.TreesFor Troops.org to learn more.

cause the tractor would raise our debt ratio,” explained Tim. “We had to hurry up and build our house and as soon as it closed, the bank was more than happy to loan us money for a tractor to dig the furrows that would bring water to the trees.” It was during this stretch of time that the test plot trees did not survive a drought that impacted many growers in the region. But today, the fields are full of

healthy, well watered White Spruce, Scotch Pines and Balsam Firs, thanks to the overhead watering system. From Thanksgiving to Christmas each year, North Pole Pines is open to customers who want to choose and cut their own trees. The family sets up a small retail stand on the homestead to meet and greet guests and to collect payment as they prepare to depart the

The ‘Jolly Fat Man’ years for the family’s investment to pay off. Ten acres were purchased in 1995 and a variety of seedlings were planted in the initial test plot to determine which ones would grow well on the property. “Our land was once part of a huge salt lake bed, so the soil is very alkaline,” explained Tim. “Conifers prefer acidic soil, so even though we do grow some, Balsams are tougher to grow here. White Spruce, however, doesn’t seem to mind the soil at all and that has become our top seller.” Tim admits that if he could turn back time he would plant nearly all White Spruce. While the variety was part of the widely varied test plot installed early on, severe drought killed many of those small trees and the family had to decide which types to plant without results from their experimental growing program. They chose to plant a large assortment of

Scotch Pine because the trees mature quickly. The goal was to achieve a return on their investment as quickly as possible. “This will be our tenth year being officially open to harvest and we are on our second rotation of trees,” said Tim. “We do most of the work here ourselves, tending to around 5,000 trees throughout the summer and readying them for harvest in the fall.” One of the most taxing jobs at the tree farm is shearing. It takes most of the summer to do this. The family also applies herbicides and mows regularly to keep weeds at bay. Along with general maintenance, the trees at North Pole Pines also require irrigation. According to Tim, the climate there has always been arid, with little rainfall during the late spring and summer months. In fact, local weathercasters frequently refer to the period be-

tween middle June and August as being “severe clear.” This, combined with the fact that older conifers can also absorb water through their needles, led the Stettlers to install overhead sprinklers. Getting water to the sprinklers was a major challenge in the beginning, said Tim. “The irony with financial funding was that if we purchased a tractor first, we would not qualify to build a house be-

Fat Man 23

BIG SPRINGS NURSERY and TREE FARMS Specialist in Fraser Fir Christmas Trees • Quality Wreaths • Garland (Roping) • Fraser Fir • Bough Material by the Pound WE WELCOME YOUR INQUIRY PLEASE CALL OR WRITE WITH YOUR NEEDS Richard Calhoun rkcdoc@skybest.com

PO Box 878 Jefferson, NC 28640

Phone/Farm (336) 384-8733 Fax (336) 384-8734 Cell (336) 877-0386


Keep Christmas Trees fresh and green all season long

The smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree infuses a home with holiday spirit, and the beauty of a real tree still can't be matched by artificial trees. A new product called Christmas Vacation will keep a cut tree fresh and green throughout the holiday season with just one watering. Christmas Vacation is an all-natural plant antitranspirant that will keep a Christmas tree fresh for up to three to four weeks. Just mix one 8-oz. bottle of Christmas Vacation with one gallon of water and pour the solution into the tree stand

reservoir inside the Christmas tree stand. Cut the end of the tree and place the tree in the stand. Let the tree soak up the solution overnight, and there's no need to water again for up to four weeks. Christmas Vacation is biodegradable and contains no toxic chemicals. Christmas Vacation can also be used to keep poinsettias and other potted plants from drying out. Just mix two capfuls of Christmas Vacation with a cup of water (or three ounces per gallon of water). Apply the solution as a water-

ing to the entire pot until the soil is saturated. Poinsettias will then survive without water for up to two weeks. Christmas Vacation is the perfect point-of-sale product near Christmas trees and holiday plants. Let your customers know about Christmas Vacation Christmas Vacation keeps Christmas trees fresh and green all season long with just one application. Simply mix one 8-oz. bottle of Christmas Vacation with one gallon of water and pour the solution into the tree stand reservoir.

All-natural Christmas Vacation is safe and nontoxic for people and pets. Christmas Vacation also works great on potted plants including poinsettias. Just mix with water and saturate the soil. Plants will then survive without water for up to two weeks. Christmas Vacation will eliminate the need for watering fresh-cut Christmas trees for the brief holiday season or up to three weeks. Add the entire bottle of Christmas Vacation to one gallon of water. Mix thoroughly. Pour entire solution into the reser-

voir inside the Christmas tree stand. The tree will suck in the solution through the fresh-cut base. The tree should keep its needles and green color for up to three weeks. These directions are for fresh-cut Christmas trees with the assumption that the tree will be discarded after the holiday season. Christmas Vacation is safe, biodegradable and contains no polymers or other toxic chemicals. Christmas Vacation is classified as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) and is safe for pets and children.

For more information, contact Natural Industries at www.naturalindustries.com.

Fat Man from 22 property. Tim bleaches his beard and hair white, wears a Santa hat and red jacket and is commonly referred to as the “Jolly Fat Man.” While he doesn’t pretend to be Kris Kringle, the nod to Mr. Claus is enough to boost the ambiance a bit for the tiny tikes who visit the farm with their families. “We keep things really simple. We hand them saws, point them in the

direction of the trees and let them enjoy the experience,” said Tim. “One of the things we do differently here is price our larger trees at lower costs. Most people have eight foot ceilings, so we can’t charge a lot for those taller than eight feet or we wouldn’t sell as many of them.” In many instances, even those with standard height ceilings choose the taller trees. They just lop off the

bottom portion of the trunks to make them fit their homes. Some leave the remnants behind at the farm. Others take the cuttings along with them to make wreaths or boughs. Whatever the choice, the Stettlers are just happy to oblige. They love growing and selling Christmas trees since they first opened North Pole Pines. And they will be sad to re- Tim Stettler dresses as ‘The Jolly Fat Man’ to further the exciting experience for tire when that time comes. visiting children.


Country Folks Grower Northwest 9.12  

Country Folks Grower Northwest September 2012

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