Thursday, August 09, 2007

Heavy Promotion Begats New Construction

It’s official, Wendy and Ernie are our new partners. We checked them out very carefully, and they are legit. We signed the papers on Wednesday, and construction has already begun on four new greenhouses.

I was reluctant to have us experience such rapid growth, but Chuck convinced me that if we can double our sales, we will be able to increase our staff and cut back the hours that he and I have been putting into the business.

We took a long hard look at our sales for the past year, and came to the realization that Specialty Lettuce was outselling our Boston Lettuce. This was due partially to our first greenhouse being smaller than the others, but also to changing public tastes.

Bits of Red Sails, not just on account of the color but also its frilly edge, look more exotic in a salad, than do leaves of Boston or Butter Lettuce. I prefer the taste of the latter, but our visually oriented society is more into looks than anything else.

So the partnership had a heated meeting, and we decided to devote two of the new greenhouses to growing different types of Specialty Lettuce. Based on extensive market research conducted by Wendy and Ernie (their company is called We Promote) now we have an official Market Plan.

Greenhouses Number Five and Six will grow Lollo Rossa and Royal Oak—two very popular hydroponic lettuce varieties—while Greenhouse Seven will produce nothing but Basil, the best-selling Herb. I guess Mr. Wong was right, because according to the Market Plan, Greenhouses Eight--the largest of the four new ones-- will be devoted entirely to growing Pak Choi.

“Let’s face it,” said Wendy, “China is the wave of the future. 1.3 billion people comprise such marketing clout, that they influence everything from the food we eat to the movies we watch to the cars we drive. Did I mention that China is starting to manufacture its own line of cars?”

Chuck wasn’t too happy about the Pak Choi, but figures don’t lie, so he went along with the Plan. “At least we don’t have to buy the cheap plant nutrients from Mr. Wong’s family,” said I, always one to count my blessings.

“Speaking of nutrients,” said Ernie, “I’ve contacted Advanced Nutrients and told them of our expansion plans. They were very glad to hear it and offered us a good deal on future bulk purchases.”

That was a bit of good news, indeed. This meant that regardless of how big our operation grows, we can always be assured that we feed our plants the best nutrients possible.

Micro and Grow, even without Bloom, provide our Lettuce, Herbs, and Pak Choi with all the macro and micronutrients that are necessary for any plant to thrive. The quality ingredients in these AN products ensure that our crops are nourished superbly, from seed to harvest.

“They told me,” Ernie went on, “that with our new greenhouses, we’ll join their group of elite customers, especially with the amount of Sensi Cal Mg Grow that we’ll order.” Salad greens, Herbs, and Pak Choi all require more than the usual amount of calcium.

We checked our supply room for how many products we needed to re-order, and discovered that our Fulvic and Humic Acid supply was low. “Don’t forget,” said Ernie jokingly, “no Humic Acid in the Herb greenhouses. People won’t want our Herbs with black roots!”

Humic Acid is such a great product, but one side-effect is that it colors the nutrient solution along with your roots a rich black color. Sort of like the rich, black humus that it helps to recreate in a hydroponic setting.

For Lettuce and Pak Choi, which have their roots cut off at harvest, this is not a problem. However, customers want to buy Herbs with their roots on, because some of them put the Herbs into pots at home or even plant them in their garden, until they’re ready to use.

“Speaking of roots,” said Wendy, “I’ve been reading about Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice on the AN Advancedpedia. Do you guys use it at half strength or full strength?”

I explained to Wendy that an AN tech guy told me to use it at half-strength for hydro, because the beneficial fungi, bacteria, and microbes might multiply too rapidly in a water setting, causing the roots to clump together.

“In soil, full strength is okay,” I said. “But in hydro, even half of the millions of microorganisms those products contain are enough to colonize our roots and assist our plants to fight off harmful fungi and bacteria.”

Wendy and Ernie gave us the thumbs up sign, and the four partners toured the construction site of the four new greenhouses, right next to our existing ones.

posted by silvio @ 8:25 AM   0 comments


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