Today is the grand opening of Temecula Valley Strawberry Farms in Fallbrook California. It's a hydroponic u-pick farm that makes obvious business sense after reading the comparative analysis in the following article.
Having lived in San Diego for sixteen years, I know just where this strawberry farm is located. It is beautiful country with great weather.
Oh how I would enjoy jumping into my Miata with the top down and driving up there from San Diego to pick my own strawberries. If not for my pending knee surgeries, I would likely be back in San Diego already. A year from now, I most likely will be back there driving a Miata again and walking every day in Balboa Park on new legs.
Back to business. I'm not sure how I feel about the Verti-gro system as a consumer product (it's hard to hide) but it appears to make sense for commercial growers in urban and peri-urban areas. I don't have the experience to offer my own comparison of this system vs. traditional NFT hydroponics greenhouse growing.
Verti-gro is popular in warm weather Florida, but I do not know if it has gained any traction here in the Northeast. I do recall seeing a few on the Science Barge but it appeared to be just a test bed.
Whatever technology used, this article makes a good case for growing local urban food with some form of hydroponics. Despite the media attention given to dirt farming here in New York, it is clear in my mind that the future of local food is technology based rather than land based.
Even consumer dirt gardening in the city makes little sense to me. Land in the city is not farmland and is often contaminated with toxic heavy metals. In my opinion, it takes someone driven by ideology, embedded tradition, or more likely lack of knowledge about modern methods to elect growing in city dirt. More up-to-date horticultural education is the best prescription.
Temecula Valley Strawberry Farm (TVSF) grows its plants straight up, uses no soil, very few chemicals and requires 85 percent less water than farmers who grow strawberries in rows on the ground.
Yet its yield is approaching the same three pounds of strawberries per plant as that of the row farm its owner ran until three years ago. Read more...