Category Archives: Builders

Micro Paradox Acquires Greenhouse System Designed and Installed by ATI

Randhawa Ventures getting started

Always on the cutting-edge of the commercial greenhouse industry, Agra Tech of Pittsburg, CA and Micro Paradox of Pleasant Grove, CA worked in close conjunction to create a commercial greenhouse system that is unique and unprecedented.

Micro Paradox provides high-quality clonal rootstock to orchard owners and nursery growers, consisting of clonal rootstocks for walnuts, cherries, pistachios and almonds. In addition to providing rootstock, the company can also do custom projects by providing customers with specific types of clonal rootstalks.

parmAboutPic

Dr. Parm Randhawa

With over 20 years of experience in the seed health industry through CSP Labs, Micro Paradox was founded by Dr. Parm Randhawa in 2010 to provide high superior rootstock to growers worldwide. In addition, he is also the founder and owner of California Seed and Plant Lab, Inc. (CSP Labs), a company that performs seed health testing for the vegetable seed industry. The company was incorporated in 1998 and expanded its services to include seed germination, seed purity, disease diagnosis, resistance screening, hybrid purity, variety fingerprinting and Non-GMO testing.

CSP Labs is located on-site in a separate facility from Micro Paradox but located on the same property. “This close proximity enables us to conduct high quality testing of our products,” Randhawa said. “It’s convenient and useful, because it saves us time and allows us to work without interruption.”

A clonal rootstock is a vegetatively propagated (cloned) rootstock. Rather than using germinated seedling rootstock, nursery owners and growers can carefully select a clonal rootstock of their choice. This clonal rootstock, in turn, can be “budded” to a variety of the grower’s choice, according to www.microparadox.com.

Clonal rootstocks from Micro Paradox are superior over seedling rootstocks, because the latter suffer from genetic variability in that one seedling is different from the other seedling and their perforwalnutProductmance is unreliable. An orchard produced from seedlings may not be productive as some seedlings may lead to inferior trees, Randhawa explained.

“Clonal plants from high-quality trees are genetically alike and therefore perform similar to such characters as vigor, uniformity, budding compatibility, disease resistance and yield,” rootstockPicRandhawa said. “Clones are generally well studied and their characteristics documented by multi-year research before their release to the growers. For example, our walnut clone VX 211 is resistant to nematodes and this resistance lasts for the life time of the tree planted in soils containing nematodes.”

Micro Paradox is well-known for producing some of the best clonal rootstocks in the world. “Several companies can clone walnuts but a very few are good at it,” Parm said. “We are good at it and our reputation lies in “trees with good roots”. Our trees have roots that are at 45 degree from stem, multiple and air pruned to provide an edge when planted in a nursery row or in the orchard.”

“Our process is simple to produce high quality trees,” Randhawa said. “By establishing a contamination-free clone in tissue culture in the lab and increasing cloning in the lab to generate large number of very healthy cuttings, we then root them in the laboratory to a well-rooted plug. Once we’ve established the plug to a well-rooted plant in the greenhouse, we let it grow to a specific size. Then, it’s ready for sale.”

Randhawa was already familiar with Agra Tech, because they had acquired several commercial greenhouses from the company for CSP Labs, but this project for Micro Paradox was a completely different project with different specs and a lot of design required. “This was a truly groundbreaking project and we knew that a lot of the work would have to be custom,” Randhawa said. “By working closely with all of the people at Agra Tech, including John Pound, Ray Pound and Anita Pound and our sales rep, Jim Bergantz, we were able to get this greenhouse and all of its systems up and running by February of this year.”

2015-08 Randhawa 21By designing and building an Agra Tech  Sawtooth framework greenhouse featuring seven separate rooms for different stages of growing, it includes 7 energy curtain systems; connecting doors to each chamber; heating and cooling systems. It also includes a mobile tray system with six transfer carts and a complete railing system to move the trays throughout the entire greenhouse; a Biotherm under bench heating system: a True Leaf Fog system in each of the seven rooms and seven separate center water drip water brooms. It’s a huge project, but after it was completely designed, it took less than six months to make it 100% operable.

Everyone at Micro Paradox is thrilled by the results of their new system and relieved that it went so well. “The customer service provided by Agra Tech has always been exceptional and on this project they really did a spectacular job,” Parm said. “They did their research and came up with solutions that were designed specifically for us. We asked them a ton of questions and they answered all of them promptly and accurately.

“The greenhouse was built by Ag-Con and Ray Pound made it a seamless process, he said. “Every time we needed something–they were right there. It took about six months to get everything up-and-running and today we’re happy to say that our greenhouse is half full already. When we reach our goals, it will be more like three quarters full, which will be full capacity, because, of course, we will always have root stalks being shipped out to our customers.”

Randhawa AgCon Construction

Ag-con Construction

Ed

by Ed Attanasio

 

 

Lassen Canyon Nursery Produces the World’s Finest Strawberry Plants

Lassen Canyon new Solar Light

Founded in the 1950s, the Lassen Canyon Nursery grows a quarter billion strawberry plants in California, Mexico and China every year while also growing hay on 930 acres. With its headquarters in Redding, CA and multiple locations worldwide, this company is well-known for producing strawberry plants that are healthy and strong for their customers all over the world, including huge growers (such as Dole, Sweet Darling and Naturipe Farms) all the way to small do-it-yourselfers with modest backyard gardens.

Clip_2Pete Stone, 57, has been working for the nursery for the past 30 years. He started out in the office and today he is the company’s Tissue Culture Lab Manager and also in charge of its Caneberry Project. The caneberry is a family of delicate berries that grow on tough but thin woody canes and thrive in a cool, moist climate. Caneberries include raspberries, blackberries and boysenberries and the company is currently performing research in order to produce caneberry plants that will be healthy and thriving in any environment.

Lassen Canyon Nursery is a long-time customer of Agra Tech, Inc., commercial greenhouse manufacturers. Stone has a total of eight greenhouses that were purchased from Agra Tech and has plans to buy eight more in the very near future. He values Agra Tech’s knowledge and experience and often relies on them for new, innovative ways to be productive and efficient.

One of these ideas concerned rolling benches for Stone and his operation, he explained. “Jim Bergantz at Agra Tech and I started talking about rolling benches and we wanted them too, but previously we were using solid benches and they offered us zero flexibility. These rolling benches give us a large walkway that can be moved and they allow us to use every square inch of our greenhouse. They make a lot of sense and have already paid for themselves, because now we’re saving time and we’ve increased our volume as a result.”

Rolling Benches

Lassen Canyon Nursery uses two types of structures to grow strawberry plants and perform research and development—screen houses and greenhouses, Stone explained. “We use our screen houses that don’t have real walls—they’re made out of screens, because we want that chill on the berries. For that reason, they’re not completely enclosed. Then, we use our conventional greenhouses primarily for seeding the strawberries and taking them through their formative weeks. The two have very distinct functions and that’s why they look so different.”

raypound

Ray Poundagcon

Stone called upon Ag-Con, Inc. in San Jose, CA to construct the new greenhouses, an experience Stone said was seamless and drama-free. “Ray Pound and Lisa Schultz at Ag-Con make an amazing team and they made the construction easy for us. They built all eight of our greenhouses for us and they took roughly a week to do each one—complete and ready to use. I would suggest to anyone that they should use Ag-Con for the construction, because they’re totally professional and great to work with. They know how to get the right permits, which is a big part of the process and if they run into obstacles, they know how to take care of it, which is important.”

Starting in September, the strawberry plants go out to be grown in soil by Lassen Canyon’s thousands of customers. “Our goal is to ship the strawberry plants and have them in the soil within 72 hours,” Stone said. “Right before we ship them, we expose them to 240 hours at 45 degrees, so that we trick them and they store energy. That way, they are robust and ready for planting once they reach our customers’ farms. In 60-90 days, our customers will have beautiful, juicy strawberries that are consistently of the highest quality you’ll find anywhere.”

The future looks berry, berry good for Lassen Canyon Nursery, according to Stone. “We’re going to expand and get more greenhouses to accommodate our Caneberry Project as well as increase our volume overall. In everything we do, were looking for a better berry so that when they show up in grocery store produce departments, they look right and taste right. By working with Agra Tech and Ag-Con we’re able to excel and grow as we strive to find the perfect berry!”

Lassen North Slope inside

Lassen North Slope inside

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AgraTech Helps Willits & Newcomb, Inc. to Keep the Bugs Out

Citrus in Screen house

Citrus growing in screen covered Agra Tech greenhouse

When a large citrus nursery discovered that the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) had been sighted in southern California and was coming their way, they needed help and they needed it right now. An aphid-like insect, the ACP will destroy every citrus tree it encounters and there is no way to stop it, so the nursery called Agra Tech, one of the world’s leading commercial greenhouse manufacturers, located in Pittsburg, CA. They also worked with Ag-Con, a greenhouse construction company located in San Jose, CA. The professionals at Agra Tech and Ag-Con possess more than 300 years of combined experience, designing and building controlled environment structures.

Located on 190 acres at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, Willits & Newcomb, Inc. (W&N) is a full-service wholesale citrus nursery serving commercial growers and retail nurseries in California, Arizona and Nevada. The nursery grows a full range of citrus products, including ball-and-burlap trees, retail nursery trees, as well as citrus propagation materials including seed, budwood and seedlings. W & N citrus trees can be found in Costco’s each spring season.

Willits & Newcomb

Willits and Newcomb

W&N has grown and today the nursery produces 350,000 citrus trees and climbing. W&N’s citrus propagating materials are shipped to nursery people and researchers in over 110 nations worldwide. The company expanded into selling trees into the retail markets beginning in 1992 and continues to grow fabulous trees for that market.

W&N’s General Manager Gary Moles has been in the nursery business more than three decades, so he knew that the discovery of the ACP could potentially be the demise of W&N. “We knew we had to start going 100% indoors, in order to get full protection from the ACP and we needed a system we could rely on,” he said. “Thankfully, we called upon Agra Tech, because they knew what to do. The first part was the design and then the construction of what we call a head house. It’s the Cadillac of protection, using positive pressure. It pushes out the insects instead of sucking them out. If there is a breech in the head house, there is enough air pushing out to not let them in.”

Other modifications devised by Agra Tech have made life a lot easier for W&N, Moles explained. “We now dispense air more evenly and have cut down the noise of the system, which is better for our employees. We can have up to 40 people working in the head house, re-planting, shipping trees and doing their daily work, so we want it to be as comfortable as we can for our people. We also wanted to make sure that there is enough ventilation in the head house, so that everyone can work there.”

Willits Newcomb Connector House

Willits Newcomb Connector House with covered breezeways allow passage between houses while keeping the pests out.

Moles credits both Agra Tech and Ag-Con for the head house’s success. “We have a great relationship with both companies,” he said. “Between the two of them, they designed and built this head house (also called an insect exclusion structure) for us and it took a lot of work to get it done. It’s a one of a kind head house and a working area for our people. It connects three of our greenhouses and is completely climate-controlled, so that we can store the heat in the wintertime and vent out the heat in the summer. We were looking for a viable and affordable solution and Agra Tech, in conjunction with Ag-Con hit a home run.”

Moles wants to keep working with Agra Tech and Ag-Con, because he values their expertise and out-of-the-box thinking, he said. “We are now looking for other projects to do with Agra Tech and Ag-Con. We’re going to upgrade two of our existing greenhouses to make them climate controlled. We bought them ten years ago, so it’s time. We’ve been blessed to work with these two companies, because they’re attentive, available and are all about finding answers for us. We’re confident that the bugs will stay out if and when they do arrive, because Agra Tech and Ag-Con are helping us to achieve it.”

Willits and Newcomb Insulator Greenhouses

Willits and Newcomb Insulator Greenhouses

Jim Bergantz, sales engineer at Agra Tech loves helping companies like W&N, he said. “I really enjoy helping customers by working together with Agra Tech’s technical team to create the best possible solution! Working closely with John, Eloise and Anita Pound at Agra Tech is amazing. Then out in the field, with a customer like W&N I take their knowledge and collaborate with John’s brother Ray Pound of Ag-Con on-site at the customer’s location. It’s incredible to be a part of this all-star team and when you see what we create and build for our customers, it makes me smile widely and with great pride!