Also in this issue...
Is there any industry publication more closely aligned with growers than GrowerTalks? We don't think so. After all, we're the one that first got growers talking to one another, starting way back in 1937.
It was then that Ball Seed founder George J. Ball, desiring to share timely crop culture information with his flower seed customers, decided the best way to do that was to create his own magazine (he wasn't happy with how slowly the existing magazine published his work). A prolific and talented writer, George would share cultural tidbits, notes from his travels, monthly production information, news on new varieties and new technology and whatever else he and his sons and his sales force had learned that month.
One of those sons, George Victor Ball, better known as Vic, started writing for GrowerTalks in about 1938, and he continued to write through the war years and beyond, eventually taking over editorial duties. In fact, Vic continued to write and travel and share his love of the industry for some 60 years until his death in 1997.
Current editor & publisher Chris Beytes joined Ball Publishing in 1993. He brought a background as a former greenhouse owner, a journalism degree from the University of Florida, and a love for the industry matched only by Vic's (Chris's wife, Laurie, is a professional horticulturist and works in the industry as well). Chris had four years working with Vic, watching the master in action and developing his own unique and witty style of communicating with growers. He says that his experience as a greenhouse owner has been invaluable. "And the more I do this, the more I realize how little I know" Chris adds.
Founded in 1937, GrowerTalks was pocket-sized, designed to fit the inside breast pocket of a gentleman's coat (which they all wore in the greenhouse back in the day). Convenient and easy to read, growers STILL share fond memories of the "little" GrowerTalks.
In 1982 the industry was booming, and Ball decided to turn GrowerTalks into a full-size magazine complete with advertising—from Ball's competitors no less! This was a controversial move, but one which proved fruitful. Not only did competitors advertise, they had it reconfirmed for themselves that GrowerTalks truly is an objective, unbiased source of industry information.
Throughout the '80s and '90s the magazine grew and evolved and changed with the times, going through several minor redesigns reflecting journalistic styles. But it was in 2008 that GrowerTalks got only its second major redesign in 70 years. It was in July of 2008 that the staff, in reaction to changes in the growing and retailing markets, decided to merge GrowerTalks and sister publication Green Profit into one large publication that covers both growing and retailing. The two magazines are joined in a unique "flip" configuration, with GrowerTalks on the front and Green Profit on the back (unless you're a Green Profit reader, that is, in which case GrowerTalks is on the back).
Why this drastic change? Simple: Because growing and retailing had become more intertwined than ever before. Growers want—no, NEED to understand the world of their retail customers. Retailers NEED to know more about the crops and products that they're selling. And one thing both groups have in common is the END CONSUMER—and you can find her in the four pages where the two magazines meet, in Green Profit's Consumer Buzz section.
As Chris says, the more we know, the more we know how little we know. That's why GrowerTalks (and Green Profit) and its editors will continue to travel the world, reporting on what's happening in greenhouses of all shapes and sizes, keeping you informed and keeping growers talking.
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