Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spot Light on Business: Lost River Growers

By Butte County Chamber of Commerce

NaDean, Hamm and Jared Brinton
Lost River Growers, one of the newest businesses in the valley, recently had their grand opening in Moore. Lost River Growers is family owned and operated by Hammond (Hamm) and NaDean Brinton, their children, and grandchildren. Hamm and NaDean are excited to be providing the valley with greenhouse products and eager to share their love and knowledge of gardening with their customers. Hamm hopes local residents will support them and says, “We are local growers hoping to provide our customers with an option that keeps them in the Lost River Valley.” Hamm and NaDean both are very interested in the future and local economy of the Lost River Valleys.

The Brintons have always been interested in gardening and growing. Both Hamm and NaDean were taught gardening from their mothers and have outdoor gardened every growing season of their marriage. This interest was taken even further when they were living in Montpelier, Idaho. Hamm’s mother suggested the Brintons buy a greenhouse and try their hand at greenhouse growing. The family worked hard on the greenhouse and used profits from their efforts for family vacations. Eventually Hamm’s glass and construction business and NaDean’s desire to become a nurse took their time away from the greenhouse, but apparently not for good.

Greenhouses were moved from Arco and set 
up during the winter and spring
The Brintons moved to the Lost River Valley in 2007. Several years later they started thinking about the greenhouse business again and in the spring of last year they acquired the nursery of the late Will Beck. They didn’t have much time to move the business and plant news seeds so last year was merely about providing the valley with the bare minimum to get by until the following year. Hamm and sons, Mark and Jared, and neighbor, Leon Powell, have spent much of the winter building a new greenhouse and moving the other three greenhouses from Arco to Moore.

Hamm shows off the head house, were seeds are germinated
The Brinton family has spent much of 2011 in preparation for the upcoming growing season. A tremendous amount of work is involved in planting thousands and thousands of tiny seeds that eventually end up as the hardy plants customers will be buying. The Brintons have set up a seed starting area as part of the large 1800 square foot greenhouse Hamm, Jared, and Mark built this winter. In the seed starting area the temperature is a toasty 75 degrees. Thousands of seeds are planted and begin their life cycle here. After the seed becomes a seedling it is transplanted into an individual spot in a flat and moved into the seedling area. The transplanting is time consuming and NaDean and crew have put in countless hours for this process. Once moved to the seedling area the temperature is cut down to 60 degrees. After some growing in the seedling area the plants are then moved to one of the three 1000 square foot greenhouses. Again the temperature remains at 60 degrees in these greenhouses until it is time to cut off the heat and begin the hardening process. This makes the plants ready for the climate and conditions of the Lost River Valley. The Brintons say one interesting thing most people do not know about greenhouses is that more time is spent cooling than heating them. Even in winter they maintain heat so well that some cooling of the buildings is required. The greenhouses all maintain a consistent temperature through thermostats, heaters, and large fans.
A wide variety of plant materials

Many of the plants have already been moved into the greenhouse where they are on display for purchase. Entering any one of the three greenhouses is impressive as they are filled with thousands of plants ready for planting. Lost River Growers has a large inventory and impressive variety of plants. With a few exceptions everything has been seeded in their seeding area. The inventory includes annual and perennial bedding plants, hanging baskets, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, melons, cucumbers, seed potatoes, onion plants and sets, potting soil, fertilizers, and soil conditioners. Trees and shrubs are expected to arrive in late May or early June. Customers who have ventured out have been surprised and impressed with the variety, condition, pricing, and quantity of plants available. Lost River Growers also has gift certificates available as a great gift idea.

Hamm with some of his flowering plants for sale.
Lost River Growers is open Monday through Saturday 10:00 – 6:00. To find the greenhouses turn west on 3125 N on the south end of Moore and head west for three blocks. The Brintons were unable to post a sign on the highway due to state regulation and apologize for any inconvenience. NaDean also asks for patience as they are a new business and still working out the details of their operation. She states, “We are just excited to help beautify the valley with our plants and love what we do.”

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