2023 - Volume #47, Issue #2, Page #08[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Growing Market Vegetables Indoors
“They fully ripen on the vine. What is picked today is in stores tomorrow,” says Chuck Tryon, president of Bushel Boy Farms. With 32 acres of high-tech glass greenhouses, the Owatonna, Minn., based business transports truckloads of tomatoes, cucumbers and strawberries to stores around the Twin Cities and adjacent states. Another 17 acres of greenhouses in Mason City, Iowa, deliver tomatoes in that region.
Entrepreneur Jay Johnson started the business in 1990 with one greenhouse to grow tomatoes year-round. With technology that controls the climate, uses CO2 off the boilers, and recycles water to optimize nutrients for good flavor, the greenhouse operation expanded and grows vine-on tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, and grape and cherry tomato varieties.
A couple of acres of strawberries are in their third season, producing berries about 10 mos. out of the year when berries aren’t available in local fields.
An acre of cucumbers was planted in late 2022 as a trial in one of the greenhouses. It’s been very successful, Tryon says, producing long English and mini (4-in.) cucumbers. To meet the demand for snack items, Bushel Boy Farms plans to add baby cucumber varieties in the coming months.
Bushel Boy uses bees for pollination in all the greenhouses and reuses and saves water and other resources as much as possible. In Iowa, snow melt and rainwater are captured for irrigating plants.
“We’re spending a lot of time looking at additional ways that technology can provide us with advantages,” Tryon says. In the future, that may include robotics for labor and using cameras to monitor the plants.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bushel Boy Farms, 215 32nd Ave. SW, Owatonna, Minn. 55060 (ph 507-451-5692; email@example.com; www.bushelboy.com).
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