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Why greenhouses may be the key to fresher organic produce

Pat Flynn, Co-founder Hazel Technologies
April 29, 2016 1:59 pm CST

With the demand for organic food in the United states outgrowing the domestic supply, California and  Arizona based grower-shippers are looking into new methods for improving the quality of their organic product lines. How?

Large scale greenhouse growing may be the key to extremely high quality organic produce.

The answer may be greenhouse production. While international produce players such as Divemex in Mexico and Origin Organic Farms in British Columbia started to experiment with large scale greenhouse organic growing operations over a decade ago, American companies are starting to pay attention to the large scale viability of green houses more recently, both by traditional grower-shippers such as Arizona based produce grower and shipper SunFed, as well as localized urban indoor growers such as Gotham Greens.

In an interview with The Packer , Matt Mandel, VP of Ops at SunFed, stated  that the benefits of greenhouses in producing better organic produce are very real, and ideally lead to an equal standard in quality between non-organic and organic produce:

“Let’s face it: Organics are hard to grow and get as perfect as conventional products because the tools in your tool chest are limited. However, growing organic in a protected environment drastically reduces the environmental pressures one is faced with, be they climatic, pest or disease-related.” (via the Packer).

What are the main benefits of greenhouse growing for produce companies, according to SunFed? At the very baseline less climatic distress and higher degree of pest control allow for much better growing conditions in the midst of limitations and restrictions imposed on the organic growing process.

The result? Healthier and fresher produce that is more resilient throughout the duration of the supply chain: “Organic greenhouse grown product has the capability of being just as high quality as conventional items if grown properly. Each year organic seed/fertilizer and practices are improving, thus creating a strong crop,” says Mitch Amicone, a representative of Ontario-based Amco produce.

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