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Blaine Ford and child in the Greenhouse

The Tumultuous Journey of Building a Greenhouse Business

Blaine was fresh out of Brigham Young University when he and his wife Linda decided to embark on their way to Pasco, Washington to join Blaine’s brothers in a greenhouse business. It was a completely new business for both of them. Blaine had never worked in the greenhouse industry before, but he was hoping for the best for him and his family and ready to learn. With wide eyes and eager hearts, Blaine and Linda dove headfirst into the greenhouse business, ready to carve their own path.

The Ford Brothers' Vision

Their vision was to harness the power of waste heat from nearby nuclear plants to fuel their greenhouses. Yet, as fate would have it, their plans took an unexpected turn when economic turmoil swept through the tri-cities, leaving devastation in its wake for many industries.

Amidst the chaos of other industries, it turned out that the greenhouse business was perhaps one of the best industries to be in at the time. With the region declared an economic disaster area, the government stepped in with a lifeline of support, offering loans to bolster industries that would create jobs and breathe new life into the community. Blaine and his brothers seized the opportunity, securing a loan that would pave the way for their dreams to take root.

With funding in hand, they set to work constructing a sprawling 10-acre greenhouse, a beacon of progress in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. This was the largest greenhouse in the West at the time. Theirs was a labor of love, fueled by a shared vision of prosperity and growth.

10 acre greenhouse

But fate wasn’t finished with them yet. As word of their ambitious endeavors spread far and wide, opportunity came knocking once more. A chance encounter with Dr. White from Penn State opened doors they never knew existed, leading to an unexpected collaboration that would change the course of their journey forever.

Dr. White proposed a bold idea – to merge greenhouse cultivation with power plant technology, harnessing waste heat to fuel their operations and ushering in a new era of sustainable innovation. Blaine and his brothers were captivated by the possibilities, diving headfirst into this new venture with enthusiasm.

Expanding into Colorado

Before long, their dreams took flight, spanning across state lines as they ventured into the vast expanses of Colorado. There, amidst the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains, they built a monumental facility that stood as a testament to their resilience and tenacity.

In the midst of their ambitious venture into greenhouse cultivation in Pasco, Washington, Blaine and his partners found themselves deeply indebted and facing immense pressure to succeed. Challenges seemed to emerge at every turn, pushing them to the brink of despair. However, with each setback, they summoned the courage to press onward.

Two devastating storms

During the third year of their business venture, a fierce windstorm swept through the region, threatening their greenhouses’ integrity. Despite their efforts to reinforce the structure, the relentless gusts tore away the plastic covering, leaving their crops exposed and vulnerable.

Devastated by the loss and facing the harsh reality of winter’s grip, Blaine and his partners grappled with uncertainty. However, the morning after the windstorm, their community rallied around them, offering unwavering support and assistance in their time of need. 

With their neighbors’ help, they swiftly removed the damaged plastic, clearing the way for a remarkable turn of events. Now they needed plastic of a very specific size that would cover their greenhouses so they could start over again. Despite the challenges that lay ahead, a company unexpectedly offered them the plastic of the exact size they needed, providing a lifeline for their struggling enterprise.

Unfortunately, their troubles weren’t over. Only a few days after they had replaced their greenhouse plastic covers and thought things were going to work out, another windstorm came through and destroyed 50% of their crops.

Remarkably, their perseverance paid off again. As the entire region had gone through the same weather catastrophes, they ended up being in a position as the sole provider of tomatoes, which meant that they could ask for extremely high prices for their tomatoes. 

In the end, they made more money that year than any previous year and were able to meet all of their obligations. It was truly a miracle. Through unwavering determination and the support of their community, they overcame adversity and transformed hardship into triumph.

 

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