Building ingenuity

Atlas Greenhouse helps Emerald Coast Growers design and execute new growing facilities for healthier perennials.

The new Atlas designed and built perennial production facility at Emerald Coast Grower’s Milton, Florida, location. The facility opened sometime in late fall 2019/early winter 2020.
Photos courtesy of Emerald Coast Growers

Across half a million acres of production space, Emerald Coast Growers (ECG) owner Paul Babikow estimates that 60 to 70% of its greenhouses were developed and built by Atlas Greenhouse.

“We’ve been gradually shifting from hoop houses to more efficient gutter-connected, high-wall houses,” he says. “This provides more cost-effective heating during the winter months, and better control of air movement during the hot, humid months.”

ECG propagates ornamental grass and perennial liners, as well as various native plants, across two sites in the Florida panhandle and another up in the heart of Pennsylvania Amish country outside Lancaster.

Obviously, those are two very different growing climates. The certainty in producing a consistent, well-performing crop that Atlas Greenhouse provides makes working with the builder an easy choice for Babikow and Emerald Coast Growers. In fact, the grower just recently opened the doors on a new 2-acre perennial facility, designed and built by Atlas.

“The structure includes a gathering/loading headhouse on the west end and perennial production houses on the east end with two 1-acre gutter blocks in between,” Babikow says. “This new setup provides us with an efficient flow of product from sticking to shipping and the high walls allow for improved air flow and ultimately a better environment for perennial growing.”

ECG’s new perennial facility “give us efficiency from sticking to shipping,” says Paul Babikow, owner.
Emerald Coast Grower’s new research and development facility, a 12,000 sq. ft. Atlas four-bay gutter connected polycarbonate greenhouse, where the massive grower will trial new varieties.

And a better growing environment means a better season financially for ECG, as well as happier customers who are more likely to buy again.

Yet, there is a multitude of active greenhouse structures companies in the industry today. So how did ECG come to choose Atlas as its main commercial partner on so many of these projects?

“Convenient southeast location, service and the quality of structure made Atlas an easy choice for our greenhouse needs,” Babikow says.

That easy choice came into play again recently when ECG got started on a new project for an extended headhouse to connect their new perennial facility with four older gutter-connected blocks to improve their material handling.

Babikow says that this latest ongoing project requires a bit of ingenuity from the Atlas team, who have been very hands-on through the entire process, including multiple in-person site visits.

“This install requires connectivity to some non-Atlas structures, as well as Atlas houses,” he says. “After 30 years in business, we have a bit of a mix of old and new structures, with a need to make everything work together the best that we can. Atlas, for its part, has been an essential part of that effort.”

September 2020
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