The main distribution of our tree seedlings at the Shand Greenhouse takes place in early May. This process is always a race against the clock. The trees have been frozen for several months at this point and as soon as they start to thaw, they will want to flush out and grow. Our challenge is to get the trees on site, sort them out into orders, ship them out and get them picked up by the customers before they start to spoil.
To accomplish this, it is necessary to sort out approximately 500,000 trees into close to 1000 different orders consisting anywhere from 10 trees to over 40,000 in a 3-4 day period. This involves the cooperation of the entire greenhouse staff. Fortunately, a lot of the work is done ahead of time. Applications are accepted from July 1 to March 15. As these applications arrive our distribution co-ordinator assesses each application and makes contact with each applicant. Once harvest is complete and we know how many trees we have, the orders can be allocated.
After all the orders are in and the customers have been contacted, the trees are brought from cold storage back to the greenhouse. Each individual order is pulled by hand, packaged up and labelled. The majority of orders are then trucked during a two day time period to the SaskPower Customer Services Offices along with a handful of volunteer sights around the province. These sights make available space and staff to allow for customer pick ups and individual seedling giveaways.
With dedicated workers and a few late afternoons we are able to successfully package and distribute all of our trees. It is just a matter of coordinating seedling arrival at the greenhouse, packaging, shipping, customer pick-ups, advertising, and volunteers so that they all occur at the same time!