The field operation at Bremo Trees has been run by “The Captain” Adan Mondrogan for the past twenty years. Adan was recruited by former manager Woody Cumbo during the nurseries fifth year of operation. Together Woody and Adan mapped out and began planting what is now a 250 acre B&B tree nursery. They learned to stake, prune and dig trees, using techniques and machinery that were only beginning to emerge at that time in Virginia.
Adan takes great pride in the “packaging” of each tree that is dug and sold at Bremo Trees. He has learned what works and what does not, through years of hands on nursery management. He demands that each ball is tight, accurately placed and up to industry standards, all of which helps to minimize transplant shock. All trucks are loaded safely and up to his strenuous standard, ensuring safe passage.
Adan grew up in the small town of Las Canoas, Mexico, supported by nine siblings, two strong parents and the rest of his extended family. It is clear that he learned at an early age the importance of family and community, for he is always there and willing during times of need. He is now the proud parent of five children, three of whom have grown up at Bremo Trees.
Earlier this week it snowed nine inches, which was followed by windchills well below zero. I spent the next day at a conference in a heated theater, sipping hot coffee while conversing with fellow nurserymen. When I returned the next morning Adan informed me that he had spent the day before pruning young trees alone, upon the windswept, frozen tundra of Bremo Trees.
“Was it cold?” I asked
“Very,” he said.
“How many trees were you able to prune?” I asked
“Only a few thousand,” he replied.