In 1984, Agri-Starts, Inc., opened its doors in Apopka and set out on its mission to become the world’s leading and most reliable supplier of plant tissue culture starter plants and services. The company, which aims to provide customers with the highest-quality materials available, uses state-of-the-art production to ensure their customer’s success. The company has a tissue culture lab and greenhouses equipped with the newest technology to create the best culture starter plants available on the market. Founder Randy Strode’s son, Ty carries these philosophies into his day-to-day work as the company’s vice president.
In Ty Strode’s Words
“The amount of nurturing it takes to get a young plant from the point of making it in the lab, rooting it, bringing it on to the point where it’s ready to go out the door – it’s just absolutely incredible. The work of a lot of different people goes into producing that little tiny plant.
My dad, Randy Strode, started Agri-Starts in 1984, and I came into the business about 16 years ago.
At Agri-Starts, we micro-propagate through tissue culture all different types of plants. We have 150,000 square feet of greenhouse space where we’re growing all types of things. We grow everything from interior foliage plants to Florida native plants, and then all kinds of edible crops. We grow blueberries, blackberries, figs and all kinds of different rootstocks. And just recently, we’re getting involved with hops.
One of Agri-Starts’ missions is to be stewards to the industry, propagating what the industry needs but also to be stewards to the environment and do it in a responsible way.
We are collecting rainwater off the roof, irrigating and capturing our irrigation water, treating it, recycling it and reusing that. We’ve go to take care of our water. These are just precious resources that have got to be protected and used responsibly.
We want to feel good about the plants we make, not just make a plant and ship it. We want to do it the right way and provide a vigorous, healthy plant for the growers.
One of my favorite things to do at the end of the day, once everybody’s left, is just walk in the greenhouses when it’s quiet and look at how the crops are coming along. And just take a minute.
It’s a real sense of pride, because a lot of work went into that teeny- tiny plant. At first pass it doesn’t look like much, but there’s a whole lot of people’s hard work behind it.
It makes me feel a great sense of pride and makes me want to wake up tomorrow and do it again.”