US (VT): How salad greens stay warm during Vermont's cold snaps

It's early March, and there is snow on the ground, but inside a hoop house at Bread & Butter Farm in Shelburne, it's at least 25 degrees warmer.

Rayna Joyce is a vegetable production manager at the farm.

A hoop house is a lightweight greenhouse made up of heavy plastic sheeting and a series of arch-like tubes. Bread & Butter has three, and they use them to grow winter greens during Vermont's harsh winter.

Here's how it works. While warm is good in the winter, too warm is a problem. On a full sun day, Joyce says, the hoop house can reach 70 or 80 degrees.

"We actually want the winter greens to stay generally at a lower temperature because we're working on hardening them off and making them capable of handling cold, and they actually are more adapted to want colder temperatures. So they don't actually do well in super hot conditions," Joyce says. "So basically, it's this game of trying to give the plants as much cold exposure as they can tolerate and then to slowly kind of bring down the temperature that they're able to withstand."

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