view current print edition







Westerlay Orchids donates $16k to local schools

For Westerlay Orchids in Carpinteria, CA, the 10th Annual Carpinteria Greenhouse and Nursery Tour was as much about cultivating young minds as it was showing off the plants grown in its state-of-the-art greenhouse. Proceeds from all Westerlay retail sales collected throughout the week preceding the event 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. Toine’s wife Kandie is a former counselor in Carpinteria schools, and they remain dedicated to the success of the public school district.

ALISO-SCHOOLToine Overgaag, president at Westerlay Orchids in Carpinteria, CA, presents large donation check to Aliso Elementary School in Carpinteria, CA.“The Annual Carpinteria Greenhouse and Nursery Tour are about showcasing farm operations that are so important in the community,” Overgaag said. “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.” 

Westerlay donated 100 percent of its proceeds — $15,972 — earned April 9-14 through showroom orchid sales, to the Carpinteria Education Foundation, the nonprofit supporting public schools in Carpinteria. CEF will administer the money to Aliso Elementary School, where it will be used to fund art programs through the Children’s Creative Project.

 “We’re honored to receive such a generous donation from Westerlay,” a CEF board member said. “It is always impressive to see how the Carpinteria community values local schools in the effort to provide the highest quality of education for all students.” 

The Carpinteria Valley has been called “America’s Flower Basket” 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.

At Westerlay, tour attendees saw eco-conscious advancements in nursery operations. The greenhouse’s newly installed system for recapturing irrigation reduces water use by 30 percent. Long a pioneer in environmental sustainability, Westerlay has instituted best-practices to attain the highest ratings for efficiency and green technologies. 

Joe and Lucy Overgaag, who emigrated from the Netherlands, founded Westerlay in Carpinteria in 1978. 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 U.S. and beyond.

Leigh-Anne Anderson is founder at Anderson-PR, Inc. in Santa Barbara, CA. She can be contacted at 310-990-5752.