Golden State Bulb Growers

Golden State Bulb Growers News

Golden State Bulb Growers to Attend Cultivate 16

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Find Golden State Bulb Glowers at Cultivate 16!

Golden State Bulb Growers will be attending Cultivate 2016 in Columbus, OH from July 9-12, 2016. An exciting new variety of the Aloha Lily Eucomis Collection will be on display for the first time in addition to our 2016-17 new introductions from California Spring Trials 2016. Our booth will also include our assortment of Callafornia Callas retail selections, On Top Begonias and new marketing ideas. Find our products in the New Varieties Zone NV 52 & 53 or at booth #2429.



New Callafornia Callas Varieties for 2016-17!

Callafornia Callas Lip Gloss, Peach Pazazz, Peppermint Twist and Strawberry Blush.

Looking to meet with a representative from Golden State Bulb Growers at Cultivate? Contact one of us below!

Region Sales Rep Contact Info Email
Western North America
John Short
+1 (831) 728-0500 ext. 260
Eastern North America
Wilfred Keijzer
+1 (831) 750-6555
South America
Robert Melendez
+1 (831) 728-0500 ext. 255
Europe & Africa
Kees de Graaf
+31 6 303 953 76
Asia & Australia
Worth Brown
+1 (831) 728-0500 ext. 204
Advertising & Marketing
Ashley Nally
+1 (831) 728-0500 ext. 259
Peter Beckman
+1 (831) 728-0500 ext. 221

GSBG: Growing Bulbs and Community

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Golden State Bulb Growers (GSBG) and the Capitola Begonia Festival Have a Growing History

It’s the end of summer and 13 acres of approximately 50 varieties of begonias are in full bloom. The harvesting field has rows filled with large colorful blossoms. The fog roles in from the ocean nearby covering the flowers during the morning and the sun comes out in the early afternoon making this area of the world ideal for growing these beautiful flowers.

It’s around this time that a festival occurs in Capitola, CA. Large groups of people come together and gather millions of blossoms from this field of tubers to fill Capitola with flowers that have made this part of California the Begonia Capitol.

GSBG was originally founded in Capitola under the name Brown Bulb Ranch, and had a major role in making this city the begonia capitol. They have been responsible for breeding some of the finest varieties of Begonias worldwide and have been a major resource for the blooms used in the begonia festival for over 60 years.

Begonia Festival Poster

Obtained from

In 1952, a Capitola citizen by the name of Peggy Mathews noticed the large fields of begonias grew in the summer and died back in later seasons. These fields were not used for cut flowers, so the blooms seemed to be going to waste. Mathews came up with the idea to pick and use these blossoms to decorate floats on the water which led to the creation of the Capitola Begonia Festival.

The Festival is a family centered event. All in the area are welcome to attend for free and participate in the various activities put on. These include a dance, a blossom decorated float parade down a local creek, sand sculpture contests, and others.

In leading up to the festival this year, the city put on multiple events to increase interest in the festival itself. There was a City Wide Yard Sale where potted Begonias were sold to the public along with artistic posters from past festivals. GSBG was able to provide these plants at the request of the city.

On May 9, 2015 an event was held where local residents could purchase a packet with the materials needed to grow their own begonias. These included instructions on how to grow these flowers so the community could have their own plants when the festival came. GSBG provided these packets to support the efforts of the city leaders to grow interest in the festival through participation.

The Festival has occurred each September since 1952 and continues today. Volunteers still come to GSBG and pick the begonia blossoms to use in the celebration.


A Brown Bulb Ranch truck carrying begonia bulbs

GSBG is a family owned company filled with over 100 years of growing history. It is an organization that has given much to the area where it was founded and continues to give today.

For more information on the Capitola Begonia Festival, visit

GSBG to Attend Cultivate 15

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Golden State Bulb Growers’ Pursuit of Knowledge

GSBG will be attending the Cultivate 15 event occurring July 11-14, 2015 to keep up with new ideas for success in the market and make connections with other in the growing community.

Cultivate 15

Kona: One of GSBG’s New Crops

Golden State Bulb Growers is committed to quality in their products. A major contribution to upholding this standard comes from learning new ways to progress. There is a wealth of knowledge held by GSBG about how to produce their crops effectively and they are always willing to improve.

Cultivate 15 is an event designed to share ideas that help growers be successful. According to Greg Schaan of Imperial Nursery, “The education program always includes progressive approaches to improving production results…These changes make us more efficient and profitable.”

There will be many individuals of the growing community at this event. states, “Every year, nearly 600 companies debut their new plants, products, and business services.” This sizable community provides great opportunity to make connections and learn how to increase success in production.

GSBG continually looks for new ways to effectively serve their customers by increasing the quality of their products. It is for this reason that they have attended many seminars designed to increase their knowledge and will continue to do so in the future.

Cultivate 15 will be held in Columbus, Ohio. All interested in the horticulture business are welcome to sign up and attend. Learn more at

GSBG: Moo Cow Dairy

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Moo Cow Dairy

moo cow dairy ice cream container

Moo Cow Dairy ice cream container


In the early 1900’s when GSBG was still called Brown Bulb Ranch, James Brown (company founder) was looking for the most ideal ways to fertilize the fields where he grew his crops. In an effort to obtain clean weed free manure for fertilizing the bulb fields, James purchased a herd of Guernsey dairy cattle. In doing so he also opened a successful dairy. Milk products including Ice Cream were sold by the ‘Moo Cow Dairy’ from 1919 to 1957. Distribution went as far as Chicago on the Southern Pacific Railroad, with distribution of the famous ice cream in four countries. Locally in the Monterey Bay Area, there were 11 retail ‘soda fountains’ serving Moo Cow Dairy products.

Helping Plant the Capitola Begonia Festival

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GSBG and the Capitola Begonia Festival

GSBG will be providing purchasable materials needed to plant begonias at an event put on by the city May 9, 2015 so the community can take part in the Capitola Begonia Festival.

Facebook Post2Laurie Hill, a member of the Begonia Festival Committee for 14 years stated, “This year the Capitola Begonia Festival hopes to spark a local interest in growing begonias… In August we plan to [have] a Begonia and Window Display contest in Capitola Village.”

Begonias need to be planted by May to grow to their full potential by the end of the season.  By providing these materials during this event, GSBG is allowing local members of the community to participate in the Window Display contest.

The event will be held locally at Esplanade Park from 11-3pm.  The materials will cost $10 and will include ideal a begonia tuber, planting soil and container.

GSBG was founded in the local community over 100 years ago and has played a major role it the Begonia Festival’s creation and continuation.  The blossoms used for the festival are picked from the 13 acres of begonias grown in GSBG’s fields.

For more information on the Capitola Begonia Festival, visit

Brown Bulb Ranch to Golden State Bulb Growers


Why GSBG is no longer called Brown Bulb Ranch

Golden State Bulb Growers used to be called Brown Bulb Ranch when it was first founded in the early 1900’s. The name itself comes from the name of the Brown family which has owned and operated the company since it was first created.

A major portion of the business developed through importing and packaging Dutch grown bulbs for redistribution to retail outlets throughout the US. The “dry sales” bulb business was so successful, Brown Bulb Ranch, became the largest wholesaler of flower bulbs west of the Mississippi. In 1954 an office and distribution warehouse were opened in Seattle to serve the needs of the Northwest. Later in the 1960’s a sales office was opened in Los Angeles to serve the Southwest. Worth Brown, in charge of sales, marketed the first packaged flower bulbs to ever be sold in national chain stores such as Woolworth and Sears.

Also during the sixties, fields were farmed in Baja California for the production of dried flowers such as safflower, strawflower and cardoon puffs, an artichoke type flower. This venture was discontinued due to an increase in cheap imports of synthetic flowers from Asia. New fields were also opened in Monterey County for the expanding Calla production.

By the 1970’s the company had hundreds of employees and was the largest distributor of bulbs on the West Coast. A decision was made to go back to company’s roots and concentrate more on the growing operation and less on the distribution of bulbs from other sources. In 1983, Brown Bulb Ranch sold its name and import division to another company. The growing operation changed its name to Golden State Bulb Growers, only selling what it grew, moving towards selling more to commercial growing operations and less to the ‘dry sales’ bulb market, which was on the decline in the US.

Supporting the Capitola Begonia Festival

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Supporting the Begonia Festival in Capitola

GSBG will be providing blooming begonia plants for the public to purchase April 18, 2015 in Capitola, CA to support the city’s efforts of increasing participation in the annual Capitola Begonia Festival.

begonia festival Golden State Bulb Growers

Laurie Hill, a member of the Begonia Festival Committee for 14 years stated, “I have noted an increase in community and tour attendance at the festival but a serious decline in the availability of begonias.”  This decline is due to fewer garden centers in the area selling potted begonias.

The city wants people to have access to growing begonias so they can increase enthusiasm for the plant as the annual Begonia Festival draws near.  GSBG was asked to help by providing already potted and growing bulbs and that is what they are doing.  The planted begonias will be sold at an event being held by the city called “Capitola City Wide Yard Sale.”

The Capitola City Wide Yard Sale will be held April 18, 2015 from 8am – 4pm at 602 Capitola Ave Capitola, CA.  Other merchandise will be sold along with the begonias such as Begonia Festival posters and t-shirts.  All are welcome to attend.

For more information on the Capitola Begonia Festival, visit

GSBG: Committed to Innovation

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GSBG implements a new Grading Machine for Calla Lilies

This year GSBG purchased a new grading machine for calla lilies that has helped increase uniformity and productivity in their bulb production.  This new system is a statement to GSBG’s commitment to advancement and innovation.

The grading system was purchased from MAF Industries, a company specializing in manufacturing of grading systems for various types of produce. Significant increases in productivity have been achieved by using this grading system.  This has allowed GSBG to eliminate the second shift during the peak season, which is particularly beneficial in light of continually rising labor costs and shortages.

grading machine for calla lilies

Calla Bulb

MAF custom designed the grading machine for calla lilies.  The system uses advanced camera and software technology to determine the size of each tuber and uniformly deliver it to trays for storage and shipping. This design includes modified deliveries and transition points, use of specialized materials and unique software programming.  These features work together to ensure highly accurate sizing without jeopardizing cosmetic quality.

All sections of the machine operate with variable speed drives allowing maximum flexibility in staffing of the system.   The machine also has the ability to adjust to tubers with variable quality characteristics.

The grading system was designed to efficiently handle the quality inspection and re-sizing of product that happens later in the season. GSBG is currently working on fine tuning their system to be able to handle other seasonal crops they produce.

CAST: California Spring Pack Trials 2015

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GSBG’s California Pack Trials 2015

Golden State Bulb Growers (GSBG) will be participating in the California Spring Pack Trials (CAST) April 11-16, 2015. We have been preparing for it and are excited to reveal some of our new products.

In preparation for the trials, we have developed a new website. Look forward to news updates on this page in the future.

California Pack Trials 2015 Kona

New Aloha Lily Variety

California Pack Trials 2015 cayman

New Caribbean Jewel Variety

CAST is an event during the year when all of our plant varieties are grown in greenhouses to showcase their quality to customers and plant enthusiasts. Thousands of potted bulbs are forced to grow and the result is an amazing display of color and beauty. Experts will be present to provide information on the plants and answer questions.



We are thankful to all those who have contributed their hard work to set up this event. Months have been spent in preparation and the result will be a high quality experience for all who attend. Please join us to see our products grown by experts under optimal conditions.

All are welcome to attend. Appointments are recommended but not required. Allow at least an hour or more to make the most of this opportunity. For appointments please email

CAST occurs each April across California. To learn more visit