After over a year of hard work to plan and build the big Freedom Foods greenhouse, and then more time to figure out how develop the right soil mix and growing environment, the effort is paying off: we have picked our first tomatoes, with plenty of green ones left hanging on the vines! In a matter of days, these green balls will become a vibrant red, brimming with home-grown sweetness and naturally-ripened goodness. This means Freedom Foods will be supplying its customers with fresh tomatoes during the end of April—a good two months before any other tomato enters the local market.
Early crops aren’t the only benefit of greenhouse growing, however. Greenhouses will allow us to extend the growing season into the late fall, as well as to grow some crops (such as lettuce) year-round despite the cold Indiana weather. Greenhouse growing allows us to fully control the environment—which means fewer bugs, diseases and weather damages—resulting in higher quality natural fruit. We can also tailor the soil, temperature and moisture to meet the plants’ specific needs. The result? Better local produce year-round.
A year ago, this greenhouse was nothing but a wire frame. Now, it is full of tomato plants reaching their way towards the sun, climbing up the trellises. Cucumber plants are creeping over the beds and up the supports too (yes, we have full-grown cucumbers as well!), while lettuce and other greens are growing along the lower outer edges of the greenhouse. It is exciting for us—and we hope for you as well—to know that home-grown tomatoes will finally be able to hit the plates of our customers. We are seeing the miracle of greenhouse-growing in action.