Cozy Acres Greenhouses
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Name:         Cozy Acres Greenhouses

Address:     Jeff and Marianne Marstaller

                    Cozy Acres Greenhouses

                    26 Cozy Acres Lane

                    North Yarmouth, Maine 04097

Phone:        Jeff’s cell:   207-232-3359

                    Marianne’s cell:  207-272-2066



Products and Services:

-wholesale only

-seven greenhouses

-geothermal and solar zero emissions greenhouse




What Makes Cozy Acres Greenhouses Unique?

How appropriate that Jeff and Marianne Marstaller’s display at the 2014 Portland Flower Show won the “Best in Show” award.  It probably did not come as a real surprise to those who know the Marstallers because they appear to be extremely dedicated, organized, and progressive greenhouse growers who focus on running a top-quality operation.  They are the owners of the first zero emissions greenhouse in the state of Maine.  This greenhouse incorporates solar photovoltaic and geothermal systems.

There is no question that the Marstallers are very pleased with their new energy-savings greenhouse. It has proven to generate more electricity than is needed to operate it. Their enthusiasm for energy-savings technologies was communicated in their creation of their “Jack is Our Hero” display at the 2014 Portland Flower Show.  It beautifully illustrated their commitment to alternative technologies and their interest in spreading public awareness.  After the judging took place in the Storybook Gardens competition, the Marstallers were informed that they were recognized with the prestigious and highly-valued “Best of Show Award.”  They were also recognized with the “Kitchen Door Garden” award.

The modern-day Jack of the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale illustrated by the Marstallers at the Portland Flower Show was an individual who was  very enthused about renewable green energy.  His golden egg could be interpreted in energy savings. According to Jeff,  the Marstallers’ display had a new slant on the beloved fairy tale.  Jack at the Marstaller’s display obtained self-sufficiency by growing all of his vegetables and herbs both inside and outside of his zero emission greenhouse.  Two geese were kept in his quaint house and a solar collector was set up outside the greenhouse.  Jeff and Marianne’s artistic display created a striking resemblance to the energy savings work with which they have been involved at their greenhouse operation in North Yarmouth.

The Marstallers may be the first to operate a zero emission greenhouse on a commercial scale

in Maine, but their experience with greenhouses hails back to 1995, when they built their first greenhouse.  This came about when Jeff missed a week of work due to a back injury and decided that running a greenhouse business would be a good alternative to the grueling physical challenges of landscaping work.  His horticultural background proved beneficial.  He taught at the Plant and Soil Technology program at Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute in South Portland.

In time, their greenhouse undertaking expanded dramatically.  A second greenhouse was added in 1996.  Two more were erected in 1997.  In 1999, the Marstallers decided that connecting all four greenhouses would prove to be much more efficient for their operation.  In 2001, greenhouses 5 and 6 were built and connected with the others. 

Cozy Acres Greenhouses sell their plants exclusively on a wholesale basis.  Only four individuals are employed to oversee the entire operation.  Marianne Marstaller, a co-owner of the business, has continued with her nursing career to supplement the family’s income. To aid in the wholesale operation a pot filler with a chain hoist was installed.  This enabled a one-thousand pound bag of soil to be lifted and moved to be used to fill the pots. 200,000 BTU propane heaters were placed in each of the greenhouses and horizontal air flow fans were installed to distribute the heat to every corner of the greenhouses.  In 2011, the Marstallers were straddled with a bill for ten thousand gallons of propane to heat their greenhouses.  They realized that it was time to evaluate ways that they could lessen their dependency on this fuel.

They worked with Farm Energy Partners to have an energy audit conducted. In the Phase One of their project, they were assisted by Stephanie Gilbert of the Farms for the Future program.  They were recipients of a $6,000 grant  from Farms for the Future which enabled them to evaluate how they could make their farm more profitable.  A solid business plan was established and they explored and purchased some materials to promote their business.  Phase Two of the Farms for the Future project would reward them with a $25,000 grant once they reached $100,000 of costs to implement their business plan.

Jeff and Marianne decided to erect a 30x96 Conley greenhouse that would incorporate solar and geothermal systems.  Because the installation of such a system is complex and expensive, the Marstallers wisely realized that they would need some guidance with the execution of the project and help with funding.  They were extremely adept at tapping assistance from several different agencies, businesses, and organizations on the local, state, and national level.

Jeff and Marianne erected a 30x96 Conley greenhouse and installed a geothermal heat pump with an underground looping field of pipes to get the geothermal system in place. They decided to install a 102-panel ground-mounted photovoltaic solar system. 

A $48,750 REAP grant from USDA Rural Development assisted with the costs of installing the solar array and geothermal system.  The Marstallers were also recipients of a $5,000 EQIP

(Environmental Quality Incentive Program) award to make their greenhouses more efficient with the

installation of low side panels along the walls for better insulation.

In the first year of operation, the new solar greenhouse has provided them with 39,000 kilowatts. This means that they were able to generate more electricity than it took to run their new greenhouse.  The new solar and geothermal greenhouse at Cozy Acres Greenhouses is the home to vegetable and herb plants that are grown on a year-round basis.

The Marstallers’ greenhouse operation is  geared exclusively to wholesale production. Individuals interested in purchasing their plants can find them at many locations in Maine including: Allen, Sterling, and Lothrop in Falmouth; Ames Farm Center in North Yarmouth; Boothbay Region Greenhouse in Boothbay Harbor; Curro’s Greenhouses in Biddeford; The Flower Shop at Winslow Farms in Falmouth; Focal Point Gardens in Arundel; Jaiden Landscaping in West Bath; Katherine’s Garden at Harbor de Grace in Long Islamd; Lady Slipper Flower Shop in Gray; McSherry’s Nursery in Fryeburg; Moody’s Nursery in Saco; O’Donal’s Nursery in Gorham; Petal Pushers in Litchfield; Plainview Farms in North Yarmouth; Raymond Village Florist in Raymond; Snug Harbor Farms in Kennebunk; Steeplebush Farm Herbs in Limington; Studio Flora in Windham; and Watkins Flats of Flowers in Casco.

As evident from the rather lengthy list of nurseries and landscapers that purchase plants from Cozy Acres Greenhouses, quite a bit of time is spent on the road making plant deliveries.  Jeff shared a general overview of the spring schedule at their farm.  March is the month of transplanting.  April is consumed with watering pansies.  May is focused on watering and deliveries.

The Marstallers stay active in various florist and gardening associations in Maine.  On February 19, 2004, they hosted a Greenhouse Energy Workshop that was organized by Dr. Lois Stack, a University of Maine’s Extension Specialist in Ornamental Horticulture and a Professor in Sustainable Agriculture.  The workshop was so popular that a waiting list to attend had been formed.

At the Greenhouse Energy Workshop, Jeff Marstaller spoke about the goal of having a year-round greenhouse with zero emissions.  Claudia Lowd from Maine Rural Partners delivered a presentation entitled “A Tale of Two Audits.” Chris Jones from USDA-NRCS delivered a presentation entitled “Financial and Technical Assistance for Energy Efficiency Available to Greenhouse Growers from NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentive Program.” The talk of Rick Meinking, Business Program Manager for Efficiency Maine, was entitled,”Cash Incentives Available for Your Greenhouse Business.”  Bev Stone from USDA Rural Development’s conducted a talk that was called, “Could REAP Fund Your Greenhouse Energy Project?”  Stephanie Gilbert, Farms for the Future Program Administrator, discussed the Maine Farms for the Future program.  Ken Ellis, owner of Sunset Greenhouses in Fairfield, Maine, spoke about “Energy Projects in Maine Greenhouses.”

Those who were fortunate to attend the Energy Workshop at Cozy Acres Greenhouses could see the amount of effort and time that Jeff and Marianne dedicate in making Cozy Acres such a successful and well-organized wholesale plant operation.  Their commitment to saving energy by embracing solar photovoltaic and geothermal systems is very admirable.  Their interest in spreading awareness about energy saving technologies, as evidenced in their spectacular Portland Flower Show exhibit, not only provided some great educational information, but also an uplifting touch of spring during an exceptionally cold winter.  The “Jack is Our Hero”

theme that the Marstallers introduced was a heartwarming modern interpretation of an age-old fairy tale.  Like “Jack and the Beanstalk”  it also ends on a very happy note with a modern-day adaptation of Jack and his zero-level fossil fuel consumption.


Flower ShowCozy_Greenhouse_Flower_Show.html

Jeff and Marianne Marstaller