Behind the Scenes

It was our first full work week with our new Japanese intern, Emi. Last week, we had more of a transition/training week for our new roommate and co-worker. She was quick to pick up our routine and has been adapting nicely. But now it was time to really get our hands dirty out in the Great Marsh. We headed out for a week filled with planting and herbiciding. We decided to split the duties within our team to have one team plant the area herbicided from the day before, while the other team herbicided the next area we would plant in. The system thus far, has worked out great. We are moving at a better pace, which may also be due to the awesome weather we have been encountering. I will take working in the mid 80s over 100 degree weather any day. Before, I could barely stand the heat but I have been able to adapt accordingly.

At the end of the week, we had the opportunity to tour the JFNew Greenhouse! It not only gave us a chance to see where our plants come from, but also to further explore Indiana, to see what work is put into growing these plants, how a multi-dimensional greenhouse operates, seed processing tools and techniques, and career prospects. The hour long journey to the greenhouse reminded me a lot of the central valley in California. Just field after field after field of farmland. Not really much else out there. A house here and there and your corner store gas stations filled the rest. Upon our arrival, we realized we were an hour late! We crossed over to the eastern time zone but it ended up working out anyway.

The tour began in the offices and quickly moved into the shipping garage and storage, which also included refrigerated storage. It was mostly filled with seeds and packaging materials. We promptly found out that most of what they actually send out isn’t plants, its seed. They collect it from their production fields and sometimes private properties, which are then brought back to JFNew to dry. We next entered their seed processing garage where they had many unique machines to clean seeds ranging from antiques to gravity machines. We learned the seeds are then packed up, labeled, and stored. Moving from the garages, we walked out to their production fields where they collect most of their seed from. The fields seemed endless! We then moved to their green houses and wetland nurseries. After the tour was over, I learned that JFNew has a knack for paying attention to details and from the vast amount of fields, endless plants, and what seemed like infinite seed, JFNew definitely knows what they are doing and do not carelessly go through their routines. They learn from their mistakes and adapt accordingly. They not only understand the importance of maintaining data, but to also utilize it to their benefit, which can invent, experiment or alter processes to ensure they get the most out of what they have. They also provide numerous other services including permitting, restoration, and ecological consulting. For anyone in restoration practices, I would highly recommend visiting their plant source. It was an excellent opportunity to see how a greenhouse operates and has inspired me to look into working in greenhouses.

P.s. Unfortunately JFNew does not allow photography within their quarters so you will have to imagine the tour I described above.