How’s it Growing in the Greenhouse – April 2012
Our Dyersville, Iowa location is in a very great spot. (With an address like Field of Dreams Way it must be!) We are located right along US Highway 20, mile marker 293 to be specific. We have literally thousands of potential customers drive by daily. We really want to create something here with our 40 acres that makes these folks take notice. Our objective is to transform the property into an educational and informational resource for growers who want to stay on top of the industry.
Word travels fast! I have already shown hundreds of people around our state-of-the-art greenhouses, Technology Center (where we host our workshops) and the entire campus via a “virtual tour.” We have hosted dozens of meetings for local agencies and two very successful day-long educational seminars. One workshop featured hydroponics and the other focused on fodder production.
Our exposure is growing locally, nationally and globally. About a month ago, for instance, an Arizona man flew into Chicago, spent the night on his daughter’s couch and drove the next day to Dyersville to see our work in action. He left that day after purchasing a greenhouse and one of our Fodder-Pro Feed Systems.
While we are becoming quite well known for our hydroponics, we are much more diverse than that. We are currently busy building five new high tunnels on site. Just like with our hydroponics systems, these high tunnels will be fully functional educational tools that our valued customers can come and experience firsthand.
We’ve geared up to be ready for the green movement and we want to be at the forefront of hydroponics. There are a lot of nice things about the technology such as the ability to grow year-round and environmental control. We also want to educate our clients about just how affordable year-round high tunnel vegetable production can be. There’s a gentleman I know heating 10 acres on 1,000 gallons of propane a year. We can cover acres and acres of land with these structures and teach people that sustainability is within their reach.
We sell our produce at reduced rates to our employees who choose to take advantage, at retail rates in our store and also to a local restaurant called Country Junction. We sell them about 50 pounds of fresh hydroponic lettuce each week and they are loving it! They were experiencing 40 to 60% loss on a head of imported Iceberg lettuce. By switching to our lettuce, the restaurant is able to reduce waste while providing more nutritious and delicious greens to customers. Now they are buying our hydroponic cucumbers as well. We are harvesting between 40 and 75 pounds of juicy, sweet cucumbers each week!
That’s just a quick snapshot about “what’s growing on” in our Technology Center in Dyersville, IA. What would you like to hear more about?