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45 years in a Russian greenhouse: a veteran’s story

This year, Russian collective farm Teplichny has an anniversary. 50 years of production are not only about the numbers achieved and the assortment, it is first of all about people, both young specialists and those whose employment history equals the age of the enterprise.

An incredibly positive and cheerful Evgeny Borisovitch Ermakov has worked in the enterprise for 45 years, which seems a lot, but the veteran claims the time has flashed by. Even though he retired two years ago, Evgeny Borisovitch willingly accepts invitations to events and is always interested in what is going on in Teplichny, which he considers his second home as he found there not only a lifelong activity but also his spouse.

Mr. Ermakov’s father, who was a tractor driver at that time in Teplichny, brought him to the enterprise right after he finished his military service. Evgeny Borisovitch recalls that in those times there were no proper greenhouses, only fields, where they grew cabbages and potatoes. In 1972-1973 the first greenhouse complex of five hectares was constructed. The young fitter had a number of curious situations, both complicated and funny ones. Evgeny Borisovitch recalls with a smile that when heating pipes needed to be replaced, they would dig them out and hold the welder by his legs while the latter was doing the repairs.

“I remember everyone from the brigade where I started. All of them were good lads”, recalls Evgeny Borisovitch, looking at the black and white photos. “Even now, if we meet with the employees, former ones too, pensioners like I am, we first of all ask how things with Teplichny are.”

The veteran could talk about the associates forever, as he spent more time at work than with his family. They went together to demonstrations, collected berries and celebrated various events.

“The ladies were also alright”, laughs Evgeny Borisovitch. “Here I met my wife; she used to work at the stock then. We both caught each other’s eye, got married and have been together for 47 years now.”

The production started expanding, new greenhouses were constructed and new specialists were required. That is when Evgeny Borisovitch became a microclimate operator. Superficially, the work seems very easy: one sits in front of the monitor and watches the graphs.

In reality, if the temperature and humidity set by the agronomist are not maintained, cucumbers would grow crooked and tomatoes would not turn red. Evgeny Borosovitch says that in general, there are no more or less important jobs in a farm, the quantity and quality of crops depends on the effort of each individual.

Even though Evgeny Borosovitch has retired, he has no time to be bored. He experiments with various crops at his own summerhouse, takes his grandchildren to pick berries and mushrooms.

“I am grateful with the management of Teplichny for maintaining the position of a best enterprise in the Far East. And even though I have retired, I still feel a part of the team.”, Evgeny Borosovitch says with a smile, before he goes back to the summerhouse, where his wife and a grandson are waiting for him for lunch.


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