Altman Plants in Lake Mathews, CA
Video By Dave Slack (VentriMedia)
“I’m Jim Hessler, General Manager for Southern California Operations. We’re here at our Lake Mathews, California site. This nursery is 670 acres, making it the largest contiguous nursery site in Southern California. Within that 670 acres, we have over 2 million square feet of greenhouse space, 18 acres of shade houses, we have over four acres of dock space. We also have over 30 miles of roads that we maintain, over 100 miles of irrigation systems, our water recycling system will store over 37 acre feet of water and we will recycle and reuse more than 100 million gallons of water each year.
We currently have about 400 employees, that’s at peak [season]. We also have a team of 8 robots that do a lot of our spacing work. Kind of a neat process, neat project – We’ve been working on the robots for about three years now, improving them along the way. And now they are at the point where they have spaced more than 800,000 plants so far here in the past 15 months, so they are an important part of our team.
We also have a fair amount of automation equipment; we have a soil mixing line where we can mix up to 99 different recipes. We can mix a soil on demand for each line, for each different plant so we can customize a soil for each type of plant that we grow, allowing us to get the precise mix to provide the very best quality product from our soils.
The soil line also allows us to produce product at a less expensive cost, as we’re buying in raw materials and doing the mixing ourselves. That soil line feeds five different planting lines; we have lines for all different sized containers, and we utilize a system where the plants come off the lines, we load them onto the trailers, and with several of the product sizes, we can actually load them with a specialized forklift that picks up multiple plants at one time. When they get out to the field, we then unload them with that same type of forklift. So the entire process, from the time we plant, to lay down, does not require a touch by people, and then we can then utilize the robots to space the plants. And so, they’re touched when they’re planted, and then they’re touched when they’re harvested, but in between, all the work is done by the machines.”
-Jim Hessler, Altman Plants Southern California Operations Manager
Contact InformationTelephone: (951) 780-2055
Fax: (951) 780-1637
15772 Lake Mathews Drive, Perris, CA 92570