US: New building, partnerships and varieties for Enza Zaden in Salinas

By more than doubling the square footage of their existing headquarters in Salinas, Enza Zaden has fortified its local investment and commitment to local growers. The new 43,000 sq ft building includes an industrial-quality seed processing, storage and distribution center, plus office space for approximately 40 of the company’s 100 employees in the U.S.

“Our building expansion allows us to offer significantly increased inventory of diverse crops, which is important to growers across the U.S. but especially here in the Salinas Valley, where we have a dedicated team on the ground to directly service regional growers,” said Ton van der Velden, President and CEO, Enza Zaden USA.

Sustainability-focused design
The company approached the building expansion challenge with a clear focus on sustainability.

Mike Moline, Building Expansion and Seed Operations Manager, Enza Zaden USA, worked with local sustainable design experts WR&D Architects of Monterey, and Ausonio General Contractors of Castroville to execute the project. “From water and energy efficiency, to effective use of regional and recycled materials, to the state-of-the-art quality of the indoor environment, these companies helped us to meet our sustainable construction goals,” said Moline.

In 2017, an additional phase of the project will include installation of more than 700 solar panels to enhance energy efficiency. The solar investment is part of Enza Zaden’s continuing commitment to sustainable operations in Salinas.

Taking sustainability inside
The sustainability focus of the exterior build is also reflected inside, with purposeful interior design featuring crisp spring colors, ergonomic desks, low walls, collaborative workspaces, and multiple board rooms outfitted with the latest communication technology.

“We’ve created a space that fosters communication, where our employees can work very flexibly, and solve problems very effectively,” said Annajane Lowe, Finance Manager, Enza Zaden USA.

Employees resoundingly agree. “The new space is spacious and modern, and allows us to work more collaboratively with local and remote employees. We are really enjoying working here,” said Gabby Lopez, Human Resources Administrator, Enza Zaden USA, and committee member for the Enza Zaden “Family Day” held on October 6th.
Family Day
The official Grand Opening celebration for the new building was attended by more than 100 Enza Zaden employees and their families. The fun-focused Family Day featured a barbecue, arts and crafts for the kids, a D.J., live entertainment, self-guided tours of the new building, and innovative opportunities for employees and their families to learn more about the people and initiatives in various departments. The goal of the day was for everyone to have a great time, and to be recognized for their role in Enza Zaden’s success to date in the US market.

“We recognize the dedication of employees who work hard in the Salinas Valley and across North America to meet the needs of growers. The lighthearted atmosphere and activities of Family Day provided a fun way to recognize that dedication, and to thank our employees’ families for their ongoing support,” said Ton van der Velden. 

Dedicated to the Salinas Valley
In addition to the 40 people now working at the head office, Enza Zaden employs 30 people at its research station in nearby San Juan Bautista. The local station, complemented by more than 20 additional stations in countries around the world, ensure growers can count on Enza Zaden for a broad range of high-quality crops developed specifically for local agro-climatic conditions. Salinas Valley growers also benefit from a dedicated regional sales team that prides itself on local knowledge and dedication to grower needs. Building and maintaining quality relationships is key to the team’s ongoing strategy to provide informed and local service. 

“We’re extremely committed to the fresh cut lettuce programs that we’re well-known for, and also to creating new opportunities for growers with up-and-coming crops, including broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, fennel, spinach and baby leaf,” said Nick Barnes, Regional Sales Manager, Enza Zaden USA.
Poised for growth in organics
Enza Zaden’s organic division, Vitalis Organic Seed, offers the largest assortment of 100% organic varieties in North America, and just as with conventional varieties, the company is looking for new opportunities for organic growers as the organic market segment steadily expands.

An exciting new partnership venture for Vitalis is with Wholesum Harvest, featuring tomatoes grown with Vitalis organic seed, and marketed by Wholesum under the unique “Vitalis Born, Wholesum Raised” label. The first-of-its-kind collaboration promotes the value of seed-to-plate organic integrity.
“This partnership reflects our belief in organic seed as the first input to an organic production system, and our capacity to leverage our extensive research operation to develop cultivars with the traits most needed by organic growers,” said Erica Renaud, Regional Business Manager, Organics & Herbs Vitalis Organic Seeds, Enza Zaden North America, Inc 

The industrial seed processing facility at the new headquarters in Salinas includes full organic handing certification, and offers extensive local inventory of organic as well as conventional seed.

For more information:
Jean-Francois Thomin
Enza Zaden Marketing Manager

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