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Plantpeddler Variety Day 2021

“We had record attendance for this year’s trials”

“People were excited to go to a floriculture event and engage with other people in the industry,” say Mike Gooder, Plantpeddler’s President, and Stacy Bryant, Key Account Sales and Trials. This year’s Variety Day was held on August 6, 2021, showcased nearly 1,500 varieties and was a successful and educational day, according to Bryant. “It was an excellent opportunity to see new and interesting varieties and discuss the future of the industry.” Gooder and Bryant discuss the importance of the trials, as well as the increasing demand for Plantpeddler’s products and how they deal with labor challenges.

The "Titans of Horticulture". From left to right: Chris Bytes, David Daily, Keith Cable, Mark Schermer, and Mike Gooder, moderator- President and Co-Owner of Plantpeddler.

Watch the video above for an overview of this year's Variety Day.

Record attendance
According to Gooder, this year’s event saw record attendance of growers, retailers, breeders, and brokers. “We held the event last year as well, but there was still a heightened fear to attend events because of the pandemic. As many floriculture businesses in the US are so scattered, events like this are a great opportunity to get together for some networking and cooperating.” For Plantpeddler itself, the trials are an important tool as well. “These trial gardens are not just for show. It is important for our company to make sure that the varieties in our program are the best possible selections for our end consumers. Because of these trials, we are able to filter down all the varieties and we only put the elite genetics in our program, so growers can trust what they buy from us.”

“Titans of Horticulture” and labor issues
For the event, Plantpeddler organized a roundtable discussion called ‘Titans of Horticulture’, where four leaders of the industry focused on the future of the industry in the post-COVID era. The speakers were: Mark Schermer, Global Head of Syngenta Flowers; Keith Cable, President Dummen Orange NA; David Daily, CEO of BFG; as well as Chris Beytes, editor of GrowerTalks. “The discussion was really interesting because the industry is currently filled with lots of optimisms (growing demand) as well as severe challenges (global supply chain, inflation, and labor shortage issues), so the future is very uncertain.” The event also provided an opportunity to demonstrate some new technology, such as ISO Group’s sticking robots. “As labor is such a major issue in the industry, we were able to showcase these automation options that can help make people’s lives much easier. That way, the labor that is available can be put to better use.”

The ISO Group demonstration.

30% growth per year
Gooder explains that the demand has been steadily increasing over the last six years. “Our young plant division has seen a 30% growth per year, for the past six years. We have been expanding to meet this increase.” And, while the demand is rising, labor is still a major challenge. “We have been strongly focusing on automation, while also completing several phases of expansions, to increase our capacity. In order to do so, we are doing as much as possible to streamline our processes. Over the years, we have added ISO Group sticking robots, automated the container movements, and we are even automating our greenhouse cleaning processes. And since using the sticking robots, we have actually seen a quality improvement in our multiliners. So, automation will continue to be a big part of Plantpeddler’s future, as we want to improve productivity as well as our products’ quality.”

Trial garden bed with Begonias.

For more information:
[email protected]