Dr. Ehsan Toosi is the Director of Research & Development at True Organic Products, (TOP) one of the most established organic fertilizer manufacturers in the West Coast. Ehsan’s passion is sustainable agriculture. One of the facilities that the R&D team utilizes is a Solar Light 30 ft. by 48 ft. by 10 ft. Agra Tech greenhouse located in Helm, CA.
According to the company’s website, True Organic Products is the worldwide leader in diverse and innovative production of organic fertilizers. Owner and CEO Jake Evans started in the organic fertilizer business in the late 1990’s. Learning from the ground up, he used the fundamentals of agronomy and soil fertility to develop TOP’s first pelleted and liquid fertilizers.
True Organic Products is family-owned and operated and was founded in 2003 with two employees. Since that time, the company has grown to the largest and most sought-after manufacturer of organic fertilizer on the West Coast. Jake remains hands-on with the company’s day-to-day interests, committed to the idea that a biologically balanced healthy soil makes for healthy plants, environment and community.
“I’ve always felt success comes with being honest,” Evans said. “Fulfilling our commitments is a TOP priority.”
One of the earliest developments in TOP’s R&D was setting up a greenhouse; basically right after getting hired in 2018, Ehsan said. “We came to the conclusion that we needed an R&D unit to stay up with the pace of innovation and the demands of the market. The goal is to improve the quality of organic inputs for growers for both organic and conventional applications. To do this, we run a bunch of tests on both raw materials and finished products. We need to test them in terms of performance and how different crops will respond. So, we use replicated trials in the greenhouse as the early stage of product development, and then take it to the field to see how it will perform there.”
He has always been passionate about sustainable agriculture and has been working at TOP since 2018. He received PhD scholarship from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand to study organic matter chemistry in soils as affected by management.
Upon graduation and moving to the U.S. in 2010, Ehsan conducted multiple research projects on productivity and environmental aspects of shifting towards less intensive management systems (reduced till, cover cropping, low nutrient input, etc.).
Ehsan is expert when it comes to things such as integrated (nutrient-water-pest) management, soil and plant health, upcycling waste into high-value (organic) farm inputs, biostimulants, as well as organic regulatory and authenticity.
When TOP decided to establish an R&D unit, Ehsan and his team began looking around for a company to help them. “Agra Tech became highly recommended, so they met with Sales Rep, Jim Bergantz, and he was very helpful and highly knowledgeable. We worked with him extensively and he helped us to devise a plan that has worked very well for us,” he said. “We went through a series of blueprints to devise where the power outlets, vents, etc. would be and so on. Agra Tech knew what we needed and what our goals were, so the plan was ideal and we haven’t had to make any changes along the way.”
To keep insects out, TOP’s greenhouse has pest netting over the vents and fans, which has worked well. We have had literally zero issues with the greenhouse and it has done its job. We decided to build the structure itself and that was trouble-free as well. The process was fairly straightforward and we are proud of the fact that we built it ourselves.”
Agra Tech was the right company for TOP to work with and Toosi gives them five stars for its service, follow through and ability to understand their goals. “We are doing trials with a wide range of crops but mostly corn, tomato, strawberries, spinach, lettuces, mostly based on the season. Four years later since its establishment, our greenhouse is working non-stop to meet our needs and it comes through for us every time.”
Now a workhouse for TOP, their Agra Tech greenhouse will be called upon to be a part of many trials and testing in the future, Ehsan said. “We get a lot mileage out of this structure and it has come through for us in every way. For other people looking to build a greenhouse and adopt if for their needs, I would definitely recommend it.”
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They were terrific. I guess I pretty much dealt with everyone there at Agra Tech at some point. Everyone was super friendly and really helpful. Jim Bergantz was a great proprietor on this project and he got back to us promptly every time. Anita Pound and James Roberts, their technical guy, was exceptional.
They have so much knowledge and they’ve been doing this for so long that that working with them was a no-brainer.