On March 27th, the Greenhouse Operations class traveled to central Idaho to view some greenhouse businesses. They were able to tour three very different operations and see how their class lectures apply to a real business.
First stop was Mountain States Plants. We visited the operation site in the Twin Falls area but they also have operations in northern Utah. The Twin Falls site is unique because it is heated via geothermal water, which is abundant in the area. Mountain States is a large mum producer, providing potted mums to large stores like Fred Meyer and CAL-Ranch.
The second stop was Onsen Farms. They grow produce all year long in 5 high tunnels. They follow organic principles and practices and also have an aquaponics systems. We loved being able to taste whatever greens caught our fancy as we learned more about their permaculture techniques while being surrounded by the beauty of their greenhouses. They sent us back on the road with a bag of delicious fresh sunflower sprouts to snack on.
Last destination was Moss Greenhouses in Jerome. This facility is jaw-dropping, to say the least. Students were awed to near silence during their tour as they were able to witness how a large greenhouse business operates. Moss’ key to success? Automation. Mechanized seeding, transplanting, and watering allows Moss to consistently grow millions of healthy crops. If you’ve ever been to Thanksgiving Point down in Utah, then you’ve seen Moss quality bedding plants as they are the premier growers for the Thanksgiving Point Gardens.
Three stops in one day is a lot to take in, but the students arrived home dreaming of their future greenhouse operation and how to incorporate everything they were privileged to learn that day.
Our aim for the Department of Horticulture at Brigham Young University-Idaho is to nurture understanding of both the art and science of Horticulture. Students learn experimentally in the classroom, laboratory, greenhouse, and ten acre Thomas E. Ricks demonstration garden as they pursue an Associates or Bachelors Degree. Using the medium of plants, students develop habits of hard work, enlightened minds, and healthy living that assist in gainful employment opportunitues.