US (PA): Hydroponics growers strives to bring 'living lettuce' to more people

Big Leaf Hydroponic Lettuce & Greens is a small operation with lofty ambitions.

The goal, according to co-owner Wilson Zimmerman, is to serve the community by offering a top-quality product that is locally grown in nutrient-rich water without pesticides, harvested weekly and delivered to sales outlets the very next day. It's called living lettuce because the roots are left intact, which makes it last longer.

“We think it benefits communities to know exactly where their food comes from and how it's grown,” Zimmerman said. “Our vision is to be able to expand so we can provide pesticide free, locally grown salad for more people.”

After about a year in business, Big Leaf Hydroponics, 953 Dunkels Church Road, Greenwich Township, is harvesting between 800 and 1,000 units of lettuce a week, with Wednesday designated as pick-and-pack day. The firm practices integrated pest management and is certified GAP, good agricultural practices, a U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety program.

The lettuce, most of which is a summer crisp variety, is grown year-round and sold in several local stores, including Redner's Markets.

Read more at the Reading Eagle (Susan Shelly)

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