A popular fixture at last year’s Wednesday Market was Jose Compean and his family’s beautiful produce. This year, his hanging flower baskets and beautiful early vegetables and strawberries have had market-goers saying good things. Jose and his father and their right-hand man pay meticulous attention to growing the most beautiful, healthy, and best-tasting crops they possibly can at their farm/orchard in Huntington.
Last spring, Jose and his father bought 14.25 acres of farmland and orchard that he and his family had been working every growing season for 35 years. They also lease and farm an additional 45-50 acres nearby. The property includes several greenhouses where they are growing close to 5,000 tomatoe plants in pots using a fascinating system of cords, clips, and watering lines.
Their greenhouses are also home to strawberry, raspberry, zucchini, eggplant and zucchini plants. Using the indoor system allows them to produce crops both early and late in the season. Bees are used for pollination and beneficial insects to control pests; and the protected environment prevents weather related damage.
The orchards they own and lease produce fifty different varieties of apples. Jose can name most of the varieties as he walks through the orchard since he grew up tending these very trees. In the last few years he has planted peach and nectarine trees but they won’t bear much fruit for another year or two.
While the greenhouses are now producing fruit and vegetables, the outdoor fields are being planted with many of the same vegetables. In addition, other types of produce (e.g., Brussels sprouts, cabbage, watermelons, cantaloupes, pumpkins) are planted by seed or transplanted as seedlings into the open fields. Early season means extra long days, but there is no rest for farmers! As plants ramp up production both inside the greenhouse and out, the 3-man operation kicks into a higher gear – picking, sorting, cleaning, and packing for transport to the Market – and to your table.