Casa Flora, a Leading Fern Grower, Chooses Dura-Bench
When people say “ferns” in the commercial grower industry, it doesn’t take long for the conversation to turn to Casa Flora, Inc. The Dallas-based grower has provided tropical and garden ferns to retailers across the nation for nearly 40 years. In February 2004, Casa Flora installed plastic DURA-BENCH platforms in its greenhouse facility in Dallas, and has plans to install DURA-BENCH platforms in one of its Florida locations.
“We began looking at Dura-Bench after experimenting with other plastic benchtops,” said Alan Cone, president of Casa Flora. “Over time, those benchtop surfaces looked like the surface of the ocean, with so many waves. It didn’t look good and it hurt our ability to easily move flats. We don’t want workers constantly lifting growing trays. They need to be able to slide them. The metal, plastic and wood surfaces we tried simply weren’t getting the job done. When you factor in the net costs of the other options, Dura-Bench was the right choice.”
Cone said the DURA-BENCH platforms will provide the best long-term solution. Casa Flora has installed the platforms on rolling space saver benches, filling nearly every square inch of several greenhouses. They will leave only one central aisle in the greenhouse and roll the benches around as they work. The plastic DURA-BENCH panels were installed on new 6′ wide Rough Brothers rolling benches
Casa Flora has initially installed black DURA-BENCH platforms, but they will soon install white ones. “We plan to conduct experiments to determine whether the white bench tops improve our grow rates. We believe the white benchtops will have lower surface temperatures, so the root zone area will be cooler. If that is the case, we will move in that direction with future purchases.”
Cone said the DURA-BENCH product CLEANS EASIER than other platform surfaces, such as wood or metal and CAN WITHSTAND THE CHLORINE SANITIZER they use on the surfaces. He likes the fact that the DURA-BENCH will NEVER RUST, and it CUTS EASILY, so it is EASIER TO SET UP bench areas in greenhouses that have central poles or other obstructions.
Cone also believes that greenhouses with DURA-BENCH surfaces simply look better. “We have 56 full-time workers and 75 part-time workers. We want them to be proud of their work area, because we think they will ultimately do a better job if they feel good about their environment. When you compare a greenhouse that has DURA-BENCH installed with one that doesn’t, you can see a difference. It may not matter to some, but it matters to us.”