Thursday, March 28, 2013

Brussels Sprouts – Finally Earning Their Place at the Table

With growing consumer interest, Brussels sprouts are making their way onto world-class menus and family dinner tables at last. Once considered an unglamorous vegetable, Brussels sprouts are now a “hot ingredient” being used by chefs on popular television shows and in restaurants. As a result of their high-profile exposure, consumers are gaining expert knowledge of how to select and prepare Brussels sprouts, making home chefs reconsider their predisposed views from childhood.

According to a recent article posted on Produce Retailer’s website, senior marketing manager for California-based Green Giant Fresh Mishalin Modena attributes the surge in Brussels sprout sales to well-known chefs’ new-found creativity for the vegetable.

“Chefs are being more adventurous and finding new flavor in these vegetables that some consumers might have considered unexciting,” Modena was quoted as saying.

Grocery store buyers can expect an impact in their sales thanks to Brussels sprouts’ resurgence in the food and beverage industry as well. With regards to one of the latest trends, shredding or chopping the vegetable in salads, consumers will continue their demand for the item during summer months.

“Seven or eight years ago, Brussels sprouts used to be just a cooking item which had more popularity in winter, but we've seen an increase in summer sales,” said Russ Widerburg, sales manager at Boskovich Farms Inc., Oxnard, CA., as reported by Produce Retailer.

Other trends making their way from professional kitchens to personal ones are sautéing, roasting and grilling Brussels sprouts as well as serving them as a seasoned side dish, cut in halves or quarters.

In light of the growing trend, companies such as Green Giant Fresh and others have upgraded Brussels sprouts packaging. By using high-graphic bags that pop off the shelf, sales have surged even higher for suppliers.

So what’s next for the industry? Butch Corda, general manager of Ippolito International LP, Salinas, Calif., expects and suggests suppliers will start offering chopped versions to consumers. This will allow companies to embrace restaurant-influenced trends and keep sales up during summer months.

For our agribusiness followers, share your comments and findings with us.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Look Inside: The Conlan Company

Established in 1987, The Conlan Company has since grown from a small Atlanta-based commercial contractor to a national firm with offices in both Atlanta, Ga. and Jacksonville, Fla. From coast-to-coast, The Conlan Company specializes in high-level, new construction projects as well as additions / expansions. Since 1996, the organization has been consistently ranked in Engineering News Record’s Top 400 Contractors. 

The Conlan Company’s services include preconstruction, in which a team of qualified professionals gather estimates and evaluations; design-build construction; general construction; self-performed work, giving the firm ability to control the concrete portion of projects; and LEED / sustainable construction.

In addition to its commercial contractor services, The Conlan Company’s Interiors Group focuses on minor to multimillion dollar tenant finishes / renovations. The range of projects includes interior Class A office renovations; industrial offices / warehouses; manufacturing facilities; medical offices, hospitals and laboratories; commercial spaces such as schools, shopping centers, hotels, etc.; and additions / expansions.

Two noteworthy examples of The Conlan Company’s commercial construction projects include Sany America, manufacturer of construction equipment located in Peachtree City, Ga., and MAP International, a global Christian health organization based in Brunswick, Ga. Photos of both projects can be seen below.
Sany America; Photo Credit: The Conlan Company
MAP International; Photo Credit: The Conlan Company

To learn more about The Conlan Company, visit the firm’s website at

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Greenhouse Grower’s Perennial Roundup for 2013

Our editor friends at Greenhouse Grower recently featured nine must-grow perennials for 2013 in their March issue. From dwarf varieties of monarda and perovskia to a grower-friendly veronica, there is a little bit of everything being introduced to the marketplace this year. Also included on the list are two varieties from our client Terra Nova Nurseries, Echinacea ‘Big Kahuna’ and Sedum ‘Thunderhead’.

One of the most majestic sedums Terra Nova has introduced to the market, Sedum ‘Thunderhead’ has huge, deep-rose flower heads that take a similar shape to Oregon's summer thunderhead clouds. With its very stout, upright stems, ‘Thunderhead’ is ideal for mixed beds, borders and dry gardens. Its handsome, grey-green foliage is the perfect foil for its dramatic, long-lasting flowers. The average size of this variety includes 24” Width / 27” Height / 30” Flower Height.

Echinacea ‘Big Kahuna’ has big, informal, honey-mango colored flowers that sit atop strong stems. The sweet scent of the flower goes right along with its Hawaiian name. ‘Big Kahuna’ is perfect for garden borders and makes for a beautiful cut flower. It requires full sun and prefers to be moderately dry between waterings. With a sturdy, upright habit, its average size includes a 21” Width / 20” Height / 27” Flower Height. It grows well in zones 4 – 10 and has a finish time from 6 to 8 weeks.

To all our grower friends, Terra Nova Nurseries’ new introductions are sure to make a splash in the horticultural community this year, so make sure to add these two varieties to your “must-have” list. In fact, add all nine because our friends at Greenhouse Grower are the ultimate trend spotters!

To learn more about the varieties featured in Greenhouse Grower’s ‘Perennial Roundup’ click on the images to expand the article. If you happen to have access to a copy of Greenhouse Grower’s March 2013 issue, then be sure to also check out their Spring Trials sneak preview featuring 45 top new varieties, four of which are Terra Nova Nurseries’ varieties: including Heucherella ‘Buttered Rum’, Echinacea Supreme™ ‘Supreme Cantaloupe’, Heuchera ‘Galaxy’, and Agastache Kudos™ ‘ Kudos Mandarin’.

If you’re interested in learning more about all of Terra Nova Nurseries’ new introductions for 2013 and want to view their plant profile pages with detailed grower information click here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Reading Between the Lines of Design

A New Library Design-Build Project Pays Homage to Regional Culture…

Our team at Eberly & Collard Public Relations prides itself on being experts within the home, garden, architecture, design, construction, and agribusiness industries. Each of our team members put forth a great effort to stay on top of industry trends, events, news, and developments in order to benefit our clients and media contacts.

Since a specialty of ours includes the trio of architecture, design-build and construction publicity, we stay focused on commercial, residential, public space, civic, and other designed or engineered developments. This enables our team of publicists to target the right media outlets to promote and publicize our clients, their services and project work.

In order to enhance their brand images and reputations, we consistently review case-studies and write articles- most of which are, in turn, made available to trade and mainstream publication editors. We also write about design-build projects from a number of sources- including clients, non-clients, friends and peers in the industry, and others.

Today’s blog post features a brief case-study of a particularly impressive development in the field of commercial contracting that our team learned about last week. Choate Construction Company, one of the largest and most reputable general contracting firms in the Southeast, successfully undertook the building and design of the St. Helena Branch Library on St. Helena Island, which is in South Carolina. Located on a National Historic District Landmark, the library sits upon land that marks the site of one of the country’s first schools for freed slaves. The new one-story, multi-purpose building contains story and activity rooms for children, interactive media rooms, public computer labs, individual study rooms, lounges, and a teen center, café, community meeting room, and conference room.
       Photo Credit: Choate Construction Company

Perhaps most notable and a true highlight of the project, the Gullah Geechee Collection room pays tribute to the area’s rich history and tradition. Celebrating the regional Gullah heritage, this unique room is constructed of a bamboo basket weave membrane over wooden rib-and-beam ship construction framing.

In case you live and work outside the Southeast, the Gullah are descendants of slaves who live in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia, which includes both the coastal plain and the beautiful Sea Islands.

The meaning behind this subtle design theme may not be immediately obvious to everyone. Though, it accomplishes what most good design should do. It gives rise to learning about the region and culture in which the structure has been imbued.

Several sustainable elements were also included in this project such as recycled materials, recycling construction waste, and natural lighting. Due to Choate Construction Company’s sustainable efforts, the building is hoping to be approved for LEED Silver certification.
       Photo Credit: Choate Construction Company

If you’re as impressed with this new library by Choate Construction Company as we are, follow the link below to learn more about the company and its variety of services and awe-inspiring portfolio.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Changing Décor with the Season

Spring is just two weeks away and, for interior designers, your clients will be eager to clear out the clutter and lighten up their homes with fresh new looks. To help get your creative juices flowing, our team at ECPR has compiled some of our favorite design tips for livening up the home for the days of spring.

Tip # 1 – Welcome Spring at the Front Door

After enduring the long winter months, a home’s exterior will be in dire need of a facelift. Landscaping aside, start your spring spruce-up with the outer focal point of the home, the front door. Encourage your clients to stray away from the traditional red and basic black door, and suggest Farrowand Ball’ s Folly Green or BenjaminMoore’s Venezuelan Sea for an inviting spring twist! Doing so can keep the home from looking just like the Joneses’ home.

Tip # 2 – Think Nature

Adding spring floral arrangements and centerpieces to energize the home is a given, but no need to stop there. Our editor friends at Midwest Living suggest gathering some of nature’s other gifts as well. This spring, collect branches, pebbles, shells, and fresh fruits to create uplifting still-lifes. Use containers made of natural materials such as wicker or those with light spring colors, and place them around the house. Simple touches like these are easy to do but bring about a sense of warmth and airiness.

See the photo below for an example.

Photo courtesy of Midwest Living

Tip # 3 – Participate in Pantone

Whether you’re freshening up a room or the entire house, bring new color palettes to life by referencing Pantone’s yearly, spring color report.

Shades of green fill our natural surroundings during spring, which is why they translate as the ultimate backdrop for other hues inside the home. Maybe the perfect background is TenderShoots, a vibrant yellow-green that conveys the first signs of spring. Possibly it’s GrayedJade, a subtle, hushed green with a gray undertone, or Pantone’s Color of the Year Emerald, a lively, radiant green that gives a look and feel of sophistication. While these go from one extreme to the next, Pantone challenges you to try combining all three. “Combining all three greens presents an intriguing choice, much like Mother Nature intended,” say the Pantone experts.

Check out Pantone’s complete 2013 spring color report to create your own combinations by clicking here.

Tip # 4 – Play Hide and Seek with Dark Furniture

After picking your spring color palettes, tie them into the room by swapping out your client’s dark wood bench for a colored wicker replacement, or add layered fabric table skirts to a dark-wood bedside table. Replacing, rearranging or changing select items in the home is an easy solution for creating a new vibe for the season. And, as easy as it is to reset the tone of a room for one season, it is just as easy to change back later.

Tip # 5 – Lighten the Load

Replace your client’s heavy throw on the back of the couch and add bright, patterned pillows to fill the space instead. Follow suit in the bedroom by exchanging the winter comforter, bed skirt, duvets, and pillow shams for ones in light colors, and sheer and silky fabrics like the picture seen below.

Photo courtesy of Midwest Living

Tip # 6 – Let There Be Light

Dark, heavy draperies in the winter are great for fighting off the cold, but come spring, trade them out and let the light shine through! The editors of Better Homes and Gardens believe that sometimes all that is needed to update a room for a new season is a fresh window treatment. Our team recommends a simple floral-pattern or a sheer voile curtain that lets the sun flow into the room.
To see more tips from the editors of Better Homes and Gardens, click here.

Tip # 7 – Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

Last, but not least, accessorize with rugs, vases, flowers, pillows, knick knacks, and more to coordinate with your color schemes. Use your designer vision to tie spring into your clients’ homes with the most creative ways possible. Use their personal and keepsake items mixed with new accessories for a sense of home.
For more inspiration, look to these websites for ideas:

Midwest Living: