Sponsored by Oregon Business

Hedging bets on nursery growth

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, April 01, 2009

STATEWIDE Alice Doyle has been in the nursery business long enough to pick up on a powerful trend in plants. She and her small team at 60-acre, 25-greenhouse Log House Plants in Cottage Grove have been busy since last October assembling a new line of “grab and grow” garden kits to match the palates and climates of a whole new crop of Northwest gardeners.

She came up with the concept on a hunch that the movement to eat locally will accelerate as the recession deepens, and so far her hypothesis is playing out. “We have so many pre-orders that we have basically created a monster,” she says.

Oregon’s nursery industry became the state’s first agricultural sector to top $1 billion in sales in 2008, but it will be hard-pressed to continue the growth it has enjoyed for 17 years. Hedges and ornamentals for residential landscaping are a tough sell when the housing market has stalled to a standstill.

Inventory is building, and several Oregon growers are still waiting to be paid for major orders shipped last year. “Home remodeling, residential construction and commercial development have all taken a real beating and that affects everything in our business,” says John Aguirre, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries.

Given that backdrop, the outlook for large-scale growers who ship their plants out of state is not good. But for seed-growers, vegetable wholesalers and fruit tree specialists, opportunity awaits.

Jack Bigej, owner of Al’s Garden Center, with five growing centers and three retail outlets in Oregon, says he isn’t expecting strong sales for pricey lawn furniture and fancy shrubs, but fruit trees, blueberries and strawberries have been moving briskly.

“With all the problems with imported food these days, people are thinking that local is better,” he says. “How much more local can you get than your own back yard? It’s edibles that are carrying the market.”

Bigej recently sold 700 blueberry plants in five days, and he has had to re-order fruit trees several times to meet demand. But even with those boosts, his tree sales are down 20%. “The industry got spoiled,” he says. “That housing boom seemed like it was going to last forever, but it’s gone.”

BEN JACKLET

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

Photos from the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon awards celebration

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 9975cneditPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the 2015 celebration of Oregon's great workplaces.


Read more...

All Rise

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Don’t just sit there. For a healthy workplace, move up and down — and all around.


Read more...

6 chiefs of staff dish on their bosses

The Latest
Thursday, February 05, 2015
legilistiblog-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask chiefs of staff for the scoop on Oregon legislators.


Read more...

Meeting Facilities Perspective

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A conversation with Donna Earley, director of sales and marketing for the Salem Convention Center.


Read more...

5 questions for inDinero CEO Jessica Mah

The Latest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jessicathumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS