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zucchini growing in the hoop house at Harvestland Farm

You may have noticed that many of our vendors had tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers early this year. It is exciting for customers that many farmers are extending their season by using greenhouses and hoop houses.

In some cases they use sophisticated drip systems for matching nutrients and watering to sunlight and temperature. Other set-ups are more manual. Pollination in a greenhouse requires farmers to purchase bees and set up little homes for them. And as you read in our June 12th issue, bees are very susceptible to chemicals, so there can be no pesticide or herbicide use in these greenhouses!

Varieties for greenhouse growing are often bred specifically for those growing conditions – the traits important for good production in the field are very different from those needed for success in an enclosed environment. To have ripe tomatoes and cucumbers for our May markets, farmers may start their seeds in November and December, so farming is literally becoming a year round operation!

We have seen only a few field grown tomatoes so far this season – but they will be coming on strong in the next few weeks. Our farmers work hard to bring you the fruits of their labor – and they are happy to share their stories. All you need to do is ask!