“The popularity of the [Russell’s Garden Center winter] farmers market is incredible. The younger generation is very into the farmers market. My son, [who is] 25, will invite his friends out from Boston. That would be an outing on a Saturday, to come out for lunch and shop for fresh vegetables. We have a lot of luncheon vendors here, so people meet their friends here. It’s very much a social thing. They feel good about buying fresh produce.”

— Elizabeth Russell-Skehan, co-owner of Russell’s Garden Center

“This is not a trend, in my opinion.” I think [this is] a generation of people that are always going to be more conscious than their parents and grandparents of what they’re putting in their body, and they’re going to raise their children to be even more cautious than they are.”

Jim Monroe

— Jim Monroe, owner of Greenbrier Nurseries, discussing the popularity of edibles, community supported agriculture programs (CSAs) and farmers markets

“A lot of what I did in terms of tree selection came from knowing the market well and knowing what the market needed. And you can only know that if you’re constantly talking to customers, researchers, landscape architects, arborists and many others in the industry.”

— Keith Warren, semi-retired breeder, J. Frank Schmidt & Son

“There is no denying that production of food crops in greenhouses is on the rise. We can’t overlook the opportunity for increased and even new revenue streams.”

— Christopher Currey, assistant professor of horticulture in the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University

“My aunt and uncle had a huge following with a line out the door because of their customer service. When people walked in, they’d say, ‘How are the kids?’ or, ‘How is the new house?’ They knew their customers like friends.”

— Stephanie Leonard, vice president, Brad Rose Landscaping