Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 12:57 pm | Partly Cloudy 69º


Westerlay Orchids Donates $16,000 to Local Schools

Sales proceeds to boost arts enrichment

Aliso Elementary School students with Westerlay’s Toine Overgaag.
Aliso Elementary School students with Westerlay’s Toine Overgaag. (Courtesy photo)

For Westerlay Orchids, the 10th Annual Carpinteria Greenhouse and Nursery Tour was as much about cultivating young minds as showing off the plants grown in its state-of-the-art greenhouse.

Proceeds from all retail sales collected at Westerlay the week of April 9-14 will go to Aliso Elementary School.

Westerlay will donate 100 percent of its proceeds — $15,972 — earned through showroom sales to Carpinteria Education Foundation (CEF), the nonprofit fundraising partner of the Carpinteria Unified School District.

Supporting public education and youth organizations in the community are long-held values of the family business, said Toine Overgaag, Westerlay president.
“The Annual Carpinteria Greenhouse and Nursery Tour are about showcasing farm operations that are so important in the community," he said.

"We wanted to take that message a step further by supporting our schools in a way that benefits those who are most fundamental to the community, teachers and students,” he said.

Toine’s wife Kandie worked for the school district as a student counselor and continues to support local youth. CEF will administer the money to Aliso School, where it will be used to fund STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programs.

The Carpinteria Valley has been called the flower basket of the United States for its prominent role in domestic flower production. Three-quarters of all domestic flowers come from California and disproportionate volumes of those are cultivated at Carpinteria Valley nurseries.

Westerlay was founded in Carpinteria in 1978 by Joe and Lucy Overgaag who emigrated from the Netherlands. The Annual Greenhouse and Nursery Tour allows the public free admission to see the wonders of the flower world and advanced operations behind the specialized industry.

Starting in 2003, Westerlay transitioned to orchid cultivation. It currently operates 21 acres of greenhouses annually producing some 2.8 million potted Phalaenopsis and Cymbidium orchids that are distributed throughout the western U.S.

— Leigh-Anne Anderson for Westerlay Orchids.

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