How sustainable practices helps popularize Westerlay Orchids

Based in Carpenteria, California, Westerlay Orchids is a Southern California commercial orchid grower. Although the company’s Dutch roots were in growing lush, beautiful roses starting in 1978, Toine Overgaag saw an opportunity in growing orchids vs. roses and shared this business idea with his father and company founder Joop “Joe” Overgaag in 2003.

“Offshore rose growers (Ecuador & Colombia) had really strong cost advantages, namely labor, and they were able to get products to the U.S. market easily,” said Toine Overgaag. “Potted orchids are largely produced domestically because of transportation costs, and they lend themselves to automation.”

The shift and five-year plan coincided with orchids becoming one of the most popular indoor plants for people around the world for several reasons. First,  these blooms are both long-lasting and beautiful. Simultaneously, interior designers added to the trend by introducing them as the perfect hallway accessory, and modern design flourished. And as a result of breeding practices and popularity, their costs also have been reduced so that they are accessible to the general public.

Capitalizing on these trends, Westerlay shipped to not only supermarket chains but to designers and florists, creating a flourishing business.

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