Dr. David Conner

Off-season berry production in tunnels

"Before beginning work on this high tunnel berry project, I studied how Michigan vegetable growers utilized tunnels on their farms. One key result was that the most successful farmers used the tunnels to bring income during the 'shoulder months' – March through April and October through December, before and after the peak of the outdoor field growing season (see graph below, from Waldman et al.).

"We learned that for farmers selling at offseason farmers markets, being the only vendor with a big pile of fresh bagged salad greens and other produce was very eye-catching and often brought customers, who then stocked up on roots, eggs, meats, maple and other products.

"I know that tunnels can extend the season for berries as well, and have heard farmers say sales are excellent- fresh berries fly off the shelves. I wonder if anyone has the experience of fresh delicious berries drawing customers to your stand and helping sales of other products? I’d love to hear your stories!"

Dr. Conner is an economist in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont.

Source: Tunnel Berries

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