Ten Milpitas Camera Club members and associates gathered under the wysteria arbor at the
Goldsmith Seed Company headquarters in Gilroy to meet our tour guide, Keith, for a tour
of the inside of some of the greenhouses.
For a few years running weve been meeting at Goldsmith to view the colorful test plots
that surround the company facilities.
This year, we arranged for a tour of a few of the large, climate-controlled greenhouses.
I really enjoyed the tour and Keiths knowledgable and well-rehearsed presentation.
(He said that hes given this tour for twelve years.) Keith previously worked as the
public relations officer for this 46-year-old, family-owned company. Now he just gives
tours in his spare time and it is evident that he still enjoys it.
Goldsmith generously welcomes guests to come and look at its colorful palette of test
flowers from a landscaped strolling garden, that even offers an observation deck,
benches and a restroom facility. If you would like a tour for a group of your friends,
you can call Keith at home and arrange to see the inside of some of the extensive
facilities. (I can give you his telephone number in case you would like it.)
This Saturday, July 26, 2008, the test beds were in peak bloom offering some perfect
blossoms for those with a penchant for flower photography. Of course, as good guests,
we were obligated not to pick any of the flowers or trample the flower beds.
The company has quite an interesting background. Goldsmith is a multinational company
specializing in developing new varieties of flowering plants. Goldsmith is a family-owned
company, founded in 1962 by Glenn and Jane Goldsmith. Founder Glen Goldsmith graduated
in 1950 from U.C. Davis with a bachelors degree in plant genetics and did his graduate
work at UCLA in ornamental horticulture. He went into the seed producing business in
Central America before coming to Gilroy to establish Goldmith with his first crops
of snap dragons, dianthus, petunias and geraniums. Over the years, the company has
grown in leaps and bounds, adding plant breeders, technicians and greenhouse workers
to a staff that now exceeds 4,000 persons. For 42 years, Goldsmith has built new
laboratories, greenhouses, research stations and seed-production sites in order to
Goldsmith sons guiding a tour group of international tourists when we began our tour.
Some of the companys facilities include far-flung production sites in Guatemaula and
Kenya and a research station in the Netherlands. The companys literature proudly lays
claim to the distinction of producing the best flower varieties in the world.
Apparently thats a claim they have no problem backing up. Their varieties have won
numerous awards in many prestigious shows, including 22 All American Selections awards
and 14 Fleuroselect medals. Goldsmith geraniums have been planted on the grounds of
Buckingham Palace in London. The variety of "Americana Red" geraniums were selected
because, in addition to their horticultural performance requirements for Englands climate,
they precisely matched the color of red in the palace guardsmens uniforms.
Goldsmith also took part in the 2004 Chelsea Flower Show in London, England.
The event is sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society and first began in 1912.
Keith gave us an hour and a half tour of four or five large greenhouses. Personally I was
fascinated by the process of breeding and germinating flowers for market. The company only
breeds flowers through cross-pollination and apparently does not employ any genetic
modification techniques. The Gilroy greenhouses are temperature controlled so plants
can be sprouted, grown and manipulated year round. According to Keith, the other facilities
in Africa and Central America are near the equator and therefore need no expensive
infrastructure (greenhouses). Those facilities are the ones that produce the seeds
for market and the facilities in Gilory and Holland are the research stations.
Goldsmiths specialties now include geraniums, impatiens, cyclamen, petunias, dianthus and
geraniums. The flower test plots are easily seen from the grounds of their Gilroy facility
and the inner court of the main building features several flower beds around a lawn accented
by a koi pond and small Japanese style bridge. There are various surprises hidden on
the grounds including a sunflower plot way in the back and a good sized swimming pool
on the grounds.
After the tour of the flower facility the group broke into its respective carpools
and our group of three went over to the Gilroy Garlic Festival to take a look around.
We played $12 a head to verify the fact that we never needed to go to the Garlic Festival
again in our lives!
Hope you all enjoyed the tour as much as I did!
Thanks for coming!
||Goldsmith Seed Company
||July 26, 2008
||July 29, 2008
© 2008 S.R. Hinrichs