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Grower in the Spotlight


Joel Bartlett on open source aquaponics

From tarantulas to turtles

Joel Bartlett isn't your run-of-the-mill aquaponics grower. An engineer by education, it was a tarantula he inherited from his aunt that set him off on a path towards developing aquaponics systems. Not only with fish, but with turtles. And he makes it a point to share all the knowledge he gathers in the.....

US (MI): Nature meets technology at urban growers

Mike Skinner and Bruce Ellwanger turned a greenhouse that was about to be torn down in Oakland County into a high-tech agriculture company. Their different types of growing systems allow them to grow fresh produce all year long. The shop opened up last year in conjunction with Oakland County. Skinner says.....

US (CA): European vegetable takes root in Solano County

Rio Vista is a small town in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with an unusual claim to fame: It's home to America's only Belgian endive plant. California Vegetable Specialties is the brainchild of Rich Collins, who has seen meteoric growth in his production and demand for the vegetable since he began the.....

US (TX): Urban farm uses hydroponic systems to teach, feed Dallas

Big Tex Urban Farms has exceeded beyond anything that co-founder Drew Demler could have ever imagined. Demler, who is the director of horticulture at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, said the growing operation got its start out of an interest by fair president Mitchell Glieber to become more involved with.....

US (WY): Pastor and hydroponic lettuce grower preaches local

Matt Powell opens the door to his hydroponic lettuce farm, housed in a used refrigerated storage container on the corner of his Casper, Wyoming property, and the Marriage of Figaro fills the air.“My little Mp3 there is loaded up with Mozart and Bach. The study I heard said they tested growing plants in three.....

Cooperative Vienna LGV focuses on regionality, innovation and cooperation

“Combining greenhouse veggies with other regional wares”

It was a successful year for the LGV vegetable cooperative in Vienna. Following the opening of the innovative "Gärtnergschäftl" business and the renewed cooperation with the friendly production company Seewinkler Sonnengemüse in Burgenland, a completely new brand was recently launched. From Andreas Melanzani.....

Turkey: Siblings grow 5 tons of mushrooms a year

Two siblings in Persembe, Ordu, a city located in northern Turkey, have applied for a grant through the Young Grower Project, financed by the state for mushroom production in a greenhouse.Their application was accepted and the siblings set up a mushroom greenhouse with an acreage of 1,000 square feet......

CAN (ON): Growers lament high hydro rates, increased labour costs

Jeff VanRoboys laments the Ontario government's one-two punch that he says is hurting his cucumber harvesting business.The 40-year-old farmer and entrepreneur says his company — The Pickle Station, located about 300 kilometres west of Toronto — has been hit hard by sky-high hydro rates and a recent increase.....

US (OR): Volcano Veggies packs 2 acres of food into 200 square feet

Two stories of green vegetables grow under lights and above round tanks of teeming fish, awaiting their turn to be harvested at Shannon and James Sbarra’s farm.Groups of workers place starter plants into racks, and others pack the leafy greens in clear plastic boxes that will be on store shelves the same.....

Gartenbauzentrale Main-Donau guarantees year-round production

'Combining outdoor and greenhouse cultivation at two locations’

With some very important marketing companies, for years the Greater Region of Bavaria has been one of the most important cultivation areas of all German vegetable production. Certainly, greenhouse production has been gradually expanding in recent years. Due to eye-catching marketing measures, constant.....

NL: Tomato grower cuts free from fossil fuels

Circularity is gaining attention in horticulture. Ted Duijvestijn, a Dutch tomato grower in Westland, would like to maximise waste utilisation and increase resource efficiency. He shares his innovative take on this: “We are moving towards a circular economy in which sustainability and social innovation play.....

US (WV): Federal funding to support agriculture program for veterans

Shepherd University has entered into a $600,000, five-year cost-sharing agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide opportunities for veterans to become agricultural entrepreneurs throughout West Virginia. The funding will be used to develop.....

But not everything always goes as planned...

British family producing some record-breaking vegetables

Farmer Kevin Fortey is from Cwmbran in South Wales. Over time, he and his family have grown some record-breaking vegetables.However, not everything always goes like you expect. Giant vegetable enthusiast Fortey was recently stopped at US customs after officials mistook a harmless gardening tool for a taser......

US (WY): Vertical Harvest celebrates second anniversary

VIDEO On the verge of completing Hearts of Glass, the feature-length documentary following the first 15 months of Vertical Harvest’s operation, JenTen Productions wishes Jackson Hole’s vertical farm with a social mission, “Happy 2nd Anniversary.” The production company put together a short video for the.....

US (NC): Greenhouse grant helps pepper farm expand

Walker Shelton and Thomas Webb, owners of Planters Produce Co. in Stantonsburg, are the recipients of an N.C. AgVentures grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. The grants are administered by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. “We’ve just been good friends growing up and went to.....

Photos: Iran Green Trade Fair

Iranian horticulture picking up the high-tech pace

PHOTO REPORT The third edition of the International Iran Green Trade Fair IGTF, held last week in the Tehran Exhibition Center in Iran, grew in 1 year with 200% to a total of 6,000 m2 of exhibit space. A total of 119 companies and about 7,500 visitors participated in what is considered to have become Iran’s.....

Netherlands: 9 hectares indoors compared to 90 hectares outdoors

Siberia is an innovative enterprise that grows greenhouse vegetables in Maasbree. It was established in early 2016 by Peter van Dijck and Luc Willemssen who also own Van Dijck Groenteproducties, one of the largest suppliers of outdoor grown leafy greens to the retail and processing sectors in The.....

The great cannabis switcheroo

An increasing number of vegetable growers are making the switch to growing marijuana, since the medical (and sometimes recreational) was legalized in countries around the world. Some growers have even emptied all their greenhouses of tomatoes and cucumbers in favor of cannabis. An overview.Tilray /.....

US (VA): Hydroponic farming provides a new job and a new life

Before they launched Sion House Farm in 2015, Justin McKenney and his father, Jack McKenney, had no connection to farming, except for cousins who farmed land along the Rappahannock River that has been in the family for more than a century. Justin McKenney, 32, worked for an oil-field services company in.....

Howard Resh:

"This industry has become so much more sophisticated"

Dr. Howard M. Resh, PhD is a hydroponics researcher, author and practitioner and one of the world’s true pioneers in the field of hydroponics. He has incorporated commercial greenhouses from Agra Tech, into several of his projects over the years.Dr. Resh has been the pivotal force behind successful.....

CAN (AB): Chilly visit leads to warm friendship

Amy Bianchi, Goran Adzic and Craig Winford braved the frigid climes of southeastern Alberta to help get the Frank & Able Tomato on-the-vine season off to a terrific start. While temperatures hovered in the single digits Fahrenheit, the team built on the warm relationship that is growing between Oppy and.....

Pepper grower Gemapa: step for step towards sustainability

Composting the full crop at the end of the season

When the Lambrecht family started their Gemapa bell pepper nursery in 1990 in the Belgian town of Nevele, Marc considered going organic. In the end he decided against it. "I thought the risks were too great, especially the aphids," Marc says. He did the math. "If you grow organically, in Belgium you have to.....

Australian grower recognized for efforts in China

Costa Group has been announced as a finalist in the prestigious 25th Annual AustCham Westpac Australia-China Business Awards.Nominated for the Business Excellence Award for Agriculture, Food & Beverage, Costa has been recognised for its operations in China with its focus on the development of large scale.....

US (VT): Growers persevere through cold, wet spring

With unseasonably frigid spring weather and high winds whipping through the region, Vermont farmers are having to adjust to the seasonal changes affecting their crops.“If you’re going to be a farmer, you gotta be resilient,” said Howard Prussack of High Meadows Farm in Westminster. “It’s what separates the.....

UK: Herb growers face economic challenges

Issues raised by Brexit may not be the biggest challenges for the British herb industry going forwards, according to British Herb Chairman Mathew Prestwich. Mathew, who works for R&G (Fresh Herbs), is in his second stint in the post.He has written to members and says: “I have mentioned to Council on many.....

Malaysia: No regrets for manager who left job to become grower

Not many young adults would give up a comfortable salaried job and sweat it out in the field, but that is exactly what Mohamad Amir Hasridz Bakar did.Leaving his tie, suit and RM4,000 monthly pay as manager of a telecommunications company behind, Mohamad Amir took the plunge and signed up for the Temerloh.....

US (MS): Inmates to harvest 8,000 lbs of tomatoes

Inmates at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman will have harvested about 8,000 pounds of tomatoes grown in a greenhouse operation by the end of May.The Mississippi Department of Corrections revived use of two greenhouses late last year to give inmates the opportunity to be productive and to gain.....

Cape Town fresh vegetable supplier

South Africa: Saving the Philippi Horticultural Area

As if the water crisis wasn’t bad enough‚ Cape Town risks running out of cheap fresh vegetables unless it protects a 1‚900-hectare vegetable patch nestled in suburbia. That’s the message from a nine-month study into the viability of the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA)‚ a massive stretch of farmlands being.....

Joe Spano with Mucci Farms on the company’s expansion into the US

“We want to be close to the customer”

Mucci Farms has completed the first phase (24 acres) of greenhouse expansion in Huron, Ohio and harvest will begin in May. “For the first phase, we chose Tomatoes On-The-Vine (TOV) because it is amongst the commodities with the highest demand from consumers,” says Joe Spano with Mucci Farms. The new facility.....

Japan: Springtime is strawberry time

In Japan, strawberry picking is a popular spring activity. When the fruits become ready to pick in early January, many families flock to strawberry farms, some even making a trip to famed picking spots in mountainous regions, to enjoy the sweet, red fruit in season.Sugiyama Strawberry Farm is a scenic farm.....

Turkey: Free electricity for 7,500 growers in Antalya

Speaking at an Agriculture Summit, Antalya mayor Menderes Turel highlighted the importance of local agricultural producers: “The municipality of Antalya has become one of the most important partners of the agricultural sector since 2014. This was only possible through the legislation of municipality law......

US (OH): Rep. Steve Chabot visits 80 Acres Farms

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, who has represented Ohio's First Congressional District for 20 years visited 80 Acres Farms, an indoor farm located in his native city of Cincinnati. Rep. Chabot currently serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business. He has made small business growth and job creation a.....

US (NH): Lef Farms' local baby green mixes get go-ahead from grocers

Henry Huntington's family has been in the New Hampshire greenhouse business for 40 years, and before that they were farming in Connecticut."Agriculture has been in our blood forever," Huntington said.Now, he and his family are operating one of the most innovative hydroponic farms in New England, and the.....

CAN (AB): Would-be urban farmers peeved by building code regulations

Some urban farmers say stringent provincial building codes are hampering their plans to farm in the city.Ryan Mason, co-owner of Reclaim Urban Farms, is asking councillors to help residents navigate provincial red tape for erecting temporary structures on urban agricultural land.“I just want to sell lettuce.....

20 million heads per year

Expansion of “living lettuce” Whole Leaf project in Alberta

Responding to consumer demands for innovative, locally grown, clean greens, Whole Leaf as a part of The Star Group, is preparing to initiate Phase Two of its “Inspired Greens” greenhouse program.The initial $30 million project, which was completed in May 2017, introduced new greenhouse technology from around.....

US (NV): Marapharm's Las Vegas sites get green light to flip the switch

On April 12th, 2018, NV Energy passed Marapharm's preliminary electrical inspection, one of the final steps towards receiving certification prior to turning on the power. All electrical services and cultivation lighting have been installed in both facilities in Las Vegas, Nevada.Marapharm’s Director of.....

Koppert Cress and Stanislav Batura-Venzelev start partnership

In February 2018, a license agreement was signed between Koppert Cress and Stanislav Batura-Venzelev in Minsk in the Republic of Belarus. According to their agreement, Stanislav will grow various types of cress (microgreens) and ’specialties’. All these products will be offered under the brand Koppert Cress,.....

US (IN): Career takes root in starting new plants

Chelsea Maupin is obsessed with plants, but you need to see her apartment to believe it. Small succulents perch on the windowsills. A bookcase in the living room is dedicated to green things of all shapes and sizes. Potted plants line the perimeter of her deck.Perhaps this obsession is hereditary. She grew.....

Video: Growing cucumbers in South Africa

VIDEO Are you in the mood to feel good? The South African retailer Shoprite took a peek in the Tshwaragananggreenhouse and have grower Edwin Mabotsa tell how horticulture changed the community. The video that has been made about it is touching.Edwin Mabotsa is living in Windsorton, a region that becomes very hot.....

Ireland: Health food producer looking for vertical farmers

Darren Ducoté, the founder of The Little Pharma, which produces and sells fresh barley and wheatgrass juice shots says growing barley and wheatgrass presents real opportunities for farming partners."Currently we are growing seven systems of wheat and barley grass, but we want to increase that to 140 by the.....

Australian government funds 12 ha strawberry greenhouse

The Australian Government has provided $3 million towards the glasshouse to be built by Mecrus Group, which trades as Gippsland Strawberries and Berry Sensation.The glasshouse would be six times the size of the MCG.It will cost $37 million, and will be capable of producing more than 2,000 tonnes of.....

Afghanistan: Government program gives women greenhouses

Hundreds of women have grown vegetables in 1,500 greenhouses across the northern Afghan province Sar-i-Pul to economically support their families, thanks to the National Horticulture and Livestock Program (NHLP).The women have also been trained in growing different vegetables and how to look after the.....

Partnership with foodservice business

Hydroponic container farm company starts growing its own hyper local produce

A new custom partnership between retail foodservice business B.GOOD and Freight Farms will result in hyper local produce available for use in their New England locations. The partnership is maximizing on Freight Farms’ food production capabilities with B.GOOD’s philosophy of providing commitment to fresh and.....

US (CA): Take a peek inside Leo Overgaag's North Shore Farm

More than 30 years ago, third-generation greenhouse grower Leo Overgaag and his wife, Suzette, uprooted their family from Santa Barbara to plant roots in the Coachella Valley. There, they pioneered the idea of growing and selling living herbs for the culinary world.Today, North Shore Living offers 21.....

20,000 sq ft packinghouse expansion for Michigan asparagus producer

Todd Greiner Farms Packing, LLC., a Michigan asparagus grower/packer/shipper, has revealed production and packaging plans for the 2018 retail season. To facilitate growth, the company recently completed a 20,000 square foot addition to its packinghouse which is the second expansion in the last 12 months and.....

April 30, Neerabup

Australia: Trandos Hydroponic Growers hosts workshop

PCA is committed to connecting greenhouse growers to valuable and relevant information, including farm visits. Their next workshop takes place at Trandos Hydroponic Growers (THG), in Neerabup, Perth, Western Australia.Monday 30th April 201812 – 4 pmTHG is a hi-tech commercial propagation nursery shipping.....

US (PA): Growers get up to speed with hydroponics

Three hundred miles may seem like a long way to go for lettuce, but Tuesday’s trip to Butter Valley Harvest Farm was well worth the extra gas for Henry Wilde.The Pittsburgh farmer is relatively new to hydroponics, and Butter Valley was offering some veteran tips during a teaching session organized by the.....

It's Friday: Time to tap... a tomato!

It might not be the first thing you think of when it's Friday and we inform you about a tap - but it's really a tomato tap we're showing you here! The dispenser was shown last weekend during the Get in the Greenhouse event. "We get a lot of good reactions," says Jens Luiten of Kordaat Product Design from.....

CAN (ON): Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence open for applications

The Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program supports and recognizes the dedication, hard work and innovation of local agri-food businesses and individuals who are adding value to existing products, helping create jobs and contributing to economic growth.Submit your application by 11:59.....

CAN (ON): "Greenhouse growers face 32% increase in costs"

Greenhouse operators in Ontario say it's a "scary" time to be in the business of growing crops.Some are considering the shift to cannabis production, implementing more automation or closing altogether.They blame Ontario's recent minimum wage hike combined with the provincial cap-and-trade program, designed.....

CAN (ON): NatureFresh kicks off 2018 growing season

NatureFresh Farms' Leamington, ON greenhouses have started full production for the 2018 growing season. In addition to greenhouse-grown peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers, NatureFresh Farms is now offering organic sweet bell and mini sweet peppers.As one of the largest bell pepper growers in North America,.....

US (ME): Backyard Farms stars in supermarket video

VIDEO A few weeks ago, Hannaford Supermarkets sent Jason and Ryan from Red Stallion Media to the Backyard Farms greenhouse to capture some of the sights and sounds of daily life in that they turned into this video, which took six hours of shooting to create.Read more about the story behind the video here.

CAN (NL): Autism centre to build year-round greenhouse

The Autism Society, Newfoundland Labrador and Iron & Earth East are teaming up on the first greenhouse of its kind to be built in this province, which will be among the first net-metering projects to be connected to the provincial grid.The 365 Greenhouse Project will showcase renewable energy.....

US (FL): Cultiva Farms celebrates expansion

Last week, Cultiva Farms USA celebrated the completion of its new cold storage facility, part of a $10 million project to build a leafy salad crop farm.The Hamilton County Development Authority awarded a two-part grant to support the company’s growth, to employ 34 people and to build the cold storage.....

Anthony Otto, Magic Sun"

"Never enough product in the middle of the winter"

As the consumption of tomatoes, interest in snacking tomatoes as well as consumers’ demand for organic product options all continue to increase, at least one greenhouse grower is expanding its organic tomato offerings to cover more areas of growth. Magic Sun of Richmond, Va. is a year-round hydroponic grower.....

NL: Demo greenhouse Enza Seeds open for visitors again

The Enza Zaden tomato demo greenhouse in 's-Gravenzande is open once again for visitors. Just like last year, the demo greenhouse consists of two locations. At the Triomaas location all finer types and varieties are available for the specific flavor segments. Varieties in all other common types can be viewed.....

56 turbines and a 20 MW battery to supply 10 ha greenhouse with renewable energy

The LED lamps of the 10 hectare Australian agribusiness Nectar Farms are to be powered with wind and battery storaged energy. The greenhouse will share its site with a power renewable power company Neoen. They ordered the building of a pioneering wind complex. A wind farm will be installed by Siemens Gamesa.....
Entry in the Guinness Book of Records

The longest chilli pepper in the world comes from Switzerland

The Swiss hobby gardener Jürg Wiesli has been breeding giant vegetables for more than 15 years and already holds several Swiss records. In 2017, for example, he brought in the largest pumpkin, weighing 593 kg. Now he can add another record to his name and he might even be registered in the Guinness Book of.....

US: Congress urged to protect loan funding for beginning farmers

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) joined with a broad coalition of farm organizations – including National Farmers Union, Rural Advancement Foundation International, and the National Young Farmers Coalition, among others – and agricultural lenders on a letter urging Congress to oppose a.....

UK: Silverdale Nursery has erected caravans for cucumber pickers

Since taking over family run Silverdale Nursery in 2014, UK Salads has harvested 12 times more cucumbers at the Nazeing site by tripling the growing area and doubling the height of glasshouses.With the growing season now extended to 11 months - from late January to November or December - the company claims.....

Jack Greydanus explains Enniskillen Pepper deal with Tilray

Canada: Why would you switch to cannabis?

When Jack Greydanus started cultivating peppers at Enniskillen Pepper in 2004, the average greenhouse operation in Canada was 6 acres, or 260,000 square feet. Now, almost 15 years later, the operation in Enniskillen, Ontario is almost double the size, but there's not a pepper plant in sight today. Last year,.....

US: Challenges, opportunities with Amish and Mennonite communities

Research from the University of Missouri has found that agricultural professionals such as conservation agents, when working with Plain (Amish and conservative Mennonite) communities, face challenges as well as opportunities on issues relating to conservation and pollution. Through interviews with.....

US (CA): Weekend rain results in mixed outcomes for growers

There was plenty of rain in parts of California over the weekend as moist air from the tropics was driven into the Bay area and northwards last Friday into Saturday. Some places received up to 6 inches of rain which caused moderate flooding on several river systems as well as the closure of Yosemite Valley.....

UK: Grower generates year-round income supplying to restaurants

When Mark and Mindy Robinson, co-owners of Tega Hills Farm in Fort Mill, bought the farm in 1999, they continued growing the much-anticipated Tega Hills tomatoes, but also branched off experimenting in the hydroponic production of lettuces, herbs and other vegetables.Now, nearly 20 years later, they’re.....

Microgreens urban farm hiding in Brookline Village, Massachusetts

Unbeknownst to passersby as they make their way down Route 9 by Brookline Village, is that tucked away in one of the tall, grey buildings that line the road are vibrant microgreens, growing in carefully maintained grow tents.New to Brookline, Legitimate Farms is an all-indoor, all-hydroponic urban farm.....

Belgium: Elisa's Fruit and Vegetables service "top without less"

In Pollinkhove, Belgium, for already a year now, there has been a striking billboard: 'topless bediening' (topless service). "A joke from friends for our wedding," Elisa Masschelein (25) and her husband Jelle Blauwblomme (26) reveal to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. "The lettering has been there for a.....

US (MN): Duo starts aquaponics business from scratch

Corey Van Stelten and John De Valk had a shared interest in aquaponics that led them to start their own aquaponics business, CR Produce in Edgerton.Although Van Stelten and De Valk had an interest in aquaponics, they didn’t have first-hand experience. De Valk attended an aquaponics class at Nelson and Pade.....

India: Tomato growers worry about recovering costs

"Free tomatoes for whoever wants." A farmer couple in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra is giving away their tomato harvest for free. Those passing by their field in Deul village can see a notice in Marathi, which they say, has been put up to show their frustration after the tomato glut this season led to.....

CAN (BC): Greenbelt Microgreens receives $80,000 loan

Whole Foods Market will award an $80,000 loan to Greenbelt Microgreens, a certified organic greenhouse grower of soil based microgreens located in British Columbia. The organic microgreens include arugula, pea shoots, sunflowers, broccoli and radishes. Greenbelt Microgreens grows year round locally in.....

US (IN): Organic vertical farmer grows tailor-made plants

Jonathan Partlow, founder of Aggressively Organic, sells small hydroponic plant growing systems that don’t need sunlight, dirt or pesticides and are grown indoors using just water, nutrients and LED lamps.Partlow says he has the modest of goal of ending hunger. And he’s being taken very seriously.The.....

CAN (AB): Grower praises new bill, still seeking Labour Code changes

Albert Cramer, owner of Rolling Hills Greenhouses, is applauding a new bill to promote local growers and producers in Alberta.However, he is also concerned that not enough attention is being paid to recent labour code changes affecting greenhouse growers.“It’s great to see the government supporting us as.....