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Bert Mucci, Mucci Farms
CA: Similarities between running a marathon and running a company
A challenging climate
Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes of North America, sits on the Canadian-US border. It is a place where strong winds blow and temperatures fluctuate from minus 20°C in winter to plus 30°C with 95% humidity in summer. But that hasn’t stopped a long line of growers trying their luck.
On its north shore, the Leamington and Kingsville region of Ontario is today home to the largest concentration of greenhouses in North America. It is here that brothers Gino and Tony Mucci decided to throw caution to the wind when they arrived from Italy. After leasing their first piece of land they bought some of their own and then expanded one plot at a time around the great lake. When they built their first greenhouse complex in the mid-1970s, people thought they were crazy.
Now three of their sons, Bert, Danny and Gianni, work alongside Vice Marketing Manager Joe Spano to run an ever-expanding, state-of-the-art greenhouse cultivation business, which includes a range of proprietary fruit and vegetables. Mucci Farms today covers an area of more than 1.5 million square meters in Ontario. And they are planning a major expansion in Ohio. At the sprawling plant in Kingsville, just a few steps from Lake Erie, long lines of cucumbers, tomato vines and heads of lettuce thrive in uniform, pleasant light.
Ideal greenhouse conditions with the help of climate screens
CEO Bert Mucci tells us how the climate screens Svensson supplies help Mucci Farms to create the ultimate indoor climate and maximize production. “No other suppliers come close to the quality of Svensson climate screens,” he says, and then lists the advantages.
“These screens help to maintain the perfect climate year-round – both during the ice-cold winters and the hot summers. When the sun rays are at their strongest, they give us soft, diffuse light and a very comfortable indoor climate.” Mucci Farms also saves up to 20% on its energy bill. “We use Luxous screens on cold winter days because we can save a lot of energy that way without losing too much light,” Bert continues. “Harmony, on the other hand, provides us with a diffuse light that softly showers perfect quality light evenly into the entire plant. It also provides us with the shade we need. And finally, we use Obscura, both to save energy and to prevent light from escaping the greenhouse when it is dark outside.”
"Svensson screens in combination with the greenhouses’ protective shell create the ideal conditions for Mucci Farms to increase its productivity and profits. And this method of cultivation is clearly a trend for the future in light of the environment and the need to grow more food with less land. The difference in cultivation efficiency of growing in a climate screen-controlled environment such as this compared to plants directly exposed to the elements is simply huge."
Mucci Farms has a few more environmental tricks up its sleeve, too. For example, it recently introduced a sustainability programme called GreenERhouse, which includes recycled water. But for now business is blooming and Bert Mucci has more and more rows of vegetables to inspect.
Mucci Farms has come far since Bert’s father and uncle built their first greenhouse. Bert Mucci isn’t afraid to take the long road either when he has his sights set on a goal. He’s been a keen marathon runner for many years. Are there any similarities between running a marathon and running a company that grows greenhouse vegetables? Bert replies without hesitation: "Sure! Both require perseverance, a strong work ethic, dedication, and strategy."
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