For Westerlay Orchids, the 10th Annual Carpinteria Greenhouse and Nursery Tour was as much about cultivating young minds as showing off the alluring plants grown in its state-of-the-art greenhouse. Proceeds from all retail sales collected throughout the week at Westerlay will be directed into the classrooms of Aliso Elementary School. President Toine Overgaag said supporting public education and youth organizations in the community are long held values of the family business.
“The Annual Carpinteria Greenhouse and Nursery Tour are about showcasing farm operations that are so important in the community. We wanted to take that message a step further by supporting our schools in a way that benefits those who are most fundamental to the community, teachers and students,” Overgaag said.
Westerlay will donate 100 percent of its proceeds ($15,972) earned through showroom sales between April 9 to April 14 , 2018 to Carpinteria Education Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising partner of the Carpinteria Unified School District. Toine’s wife Kandie worked for the school district as a student counselor and has continued to be personally invested in the cause of supporting local youth. CEF will administer the money to Aliso Elementary School, where it will be used to fund STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programs.
The Carpinteria Valley has been called the flower basket of the United States for its prominent role in domestic flower production. Three-quarters of all domestic flowers come from California and disproportionate volumes of those are cultivated at Carpinteria Valley nurseries. The Annual Greenhouse and Nursery Tour allow the public free admission to see the wonders of the flower world and advanced operations behind the specialized industry.
Westerlay was founded in Carpinteria, Calif., in 1978 by Joe and Lucy Overgaag who emigrated from the Netherlands. Starting in 2003, the company transitioned to orchid cultivation and currently operates 21 acres of greenhouses annually producing over 2.8 million potted Phalaenopsis and Cymbidium Orchids that are distributed throughout the Western US and beyond.