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Gearing up for MeetUp: Local farmer will attend event to learn more about high tunnels

Farmers throughout the area will have the chance to learn about a variety of topics to help their business plus meet others in the same field. The fourth annual Eastern Kentucky Ag Products Grower-Buyer MeetUp will be Feb. 25 in Prestonsburg.

“The Grower-Buyer MeetUp is a great opportunity for Kentucky farm families to interact with one another and develop relationships with potential buyers,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “As we recover from the coronavirus pandemic, events like the MeetUp are important to help rekindle our economy and help our farmers find markets to sell their goods.”

One local farmer plans to attend to learn more about using a high tunnel, an unheated and ventilated greenhouse-like structure which allows for growing crops in the ground, unlike a greenhouse usually houses plants growing in pots. Sweet Bee Gardens in Greenup has a 90-by-30-foot high tunnel containing cabbage, peas, carrots, beets and kale. Shane Fields, known as Farmer Shane in the local agriculture community, said the crops are doing well. “We’ve harvested about 20 heads of cabbage and eveything else is coming along,” he said. “We’re hoping the timing is so the other crops are ripe by May.”

It’s the farm’s first year with a high tunnel, so Fields is planning to attend the session on high tunnels at the MeetUp to learn more about making the best use of it. High tunnels can be a DIY project that costs as little as $200 or can be purchased for thousands, depending on how much space is available to how much will be grown inside it. For many, they are well worth the price to help farmers to get a jump on the season. Fields said about 31 crops are considered cool-weather crops for the area.

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