We’re Putting the Petal to the Metal at CAST


Senior Editor Julie Hullett visiting ‘Frizz’ the asparagus fern at PanAmerican Seed during CAST 2023. Photo: Robin Siktberg

California Spring Trials (CAST) are right around the corner. The team at Greenhouse Grower, including Dr. Allan Armitage, Contributing Editor Robin Siktberg, and myself, will be flying out to the West Coast on Tuesday to begin our tour of trial locations. 2023 was my first year at CAST, so I know what to expect, which makes me all the more excited for the trip.

Greenhouse Grower will be covering all stops with slideshows and videos, so check out GreenhouseGrower.com for CAST coverage.

We chose to start on the southern end, kicking off the event with Green Fuse Grove in Somis, including Green Fuse Botanicals, Beekenkamp, Hem Genetics, Schoneveld, and Westhoff. We will spend the afternoon at Ball Horticultural and Morel Cyclamen in Santa Paula.

The second day includes a visit to the Santa Barbara Polo Club, home club of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, to visit Suntory, PlantHaven, Pacific Plug & Liner, Plant Development Services, Vitroflora, Vivero International, and Green Trade Horticulture. In the afternoon, our team will pay a visit to Dümmen Orange. We’ll likely curl up by a fire pit in Pismo Beach and discuss our findings from the first two days. If you’re on the coast for a business trip anyways, why not get a few rooms with a view?

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The wake-up call is bright and early on Friday to head out to Sakata, Kientzler, American Takii, HilverdaFlorist, and Sahin in Salinas, before moving on to Danziger in Gilroy. If I recall correctly, we stumbled upon a restaurant in Salinas called Patria with the most divine crème brûlée the three of us had ever tried. We also looked in a charming bookstore and had a lengthy conversation with the owner, trying to convince her to stock the books Dr. Armitage has published.

On the last day, we will visit Benary and Benary+. In addition to the outstanding array of flowers to be displayed at all stops, I’m also looking forward to the activities at Benary. It is known for adding creative, fun elements to its stop. Last year, there was a giant, inflatable slide (that I was too afraid to actually try out). But it sure was cool! We’ll check out the new varieties at Griggs Nursery, including Cohen, Hishtil, Jaldety, Nir, Prudac, and Saad-Assaf. Syngenta Flowers and ThinkPlants will close out the trip for us with a bang.

Throughout our travels, the Greenhouse Grower team will be posting on all social media platforms. Follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook at Greenhouse Grower, on YouTube @GreenhouseGrower, and on X (formerly Twitter) @greenhousegrow.

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