US: Amherst family stays busy with home-grown produce business

In a greenhouse near U.S. 60 West in the Mount Pleasant area of Amherst County, Steve and Susan Bailey are growing a business that delivers fresh produce to customers’ doorsteps. Their daughter, Betsy Campbell, and her husband, Rob, on a recent afternoon joined in on treating and preparing the vegetables as part of a family venture, Mt. Pleasant Growers, a hydroponic producer of fresh, clean and nutrition-packed microgreens, lettuces, greens and herbs.

The greenhouse, which Steve Bailey began building five years ago on his wife’s mother’s property, has a closed loop hydroponic system that gives plants the exact amount of water and nutrients needs to grow, resulting in water conservation, Bailey said. “My wife and I both work full time so this has been a hobby until recently when we started selling,” said Bailey.

He said the seeds of Mt. Pleasant Growers came from his interest in starting an aquaponic system for raising fish in tanks to see if the process works. The system had just more than 70 tilapia, but it was hard to manage with the couple working full time, he said. A hydroponic operation was born out of that hobby, and now the family sells produce at farmers markets.
“Primarily our sales are online,” Steve Bailey said. ““We deliver direct to the customer.”

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