Friday, January 2, 2009

Village Farms

Made my run to Alpine matter what is in the budget or on the schedule - I hate spending money. Happy to say I cleared the list and came in under budget, so I feel pretty good about the day. On my list was parts for my new solar hot water heating system but I need to do some more cypher'n before I spend the money.

Once up in the big city, I took a drive up to Ft. Davis to photograph an amazing greenhouse operation. I was in Alpine one weekend this summer at the Antelope Lodge and they had about 50 cases of surplus hydroponic tomatoes from Village Farms to give away. I took home about 200 tomatoes that weekend and gave them out to as many folks as I could find. They were fantastic tomatoes! I emailed them about a tour of their operation as I would love to emulate it on a much smaller scale for my own needs here. This greenhouse is the size of my my entire property at the Field Lab. Here are some of the amazing specs on their greenhouse in Ft. Davis:

Total Growing Area: 40 acres, Packing and Support Facilities: 76,230 sq. ft. , Total Project Cost: $23 million, Human Resources: 175 people employed year round, Number of Plants/Yield: 416,000 plants yield over 20 million pounds of tomatoes annually, Variety: Tomatoes on-the-vine, Roma tomatoes on-the-vine, Yellow tomatoes on-the-vine, Orange tomatoes on-the-vine. Facts: This forty-acre flagship greenhouse broke ground in March 1996 and full scale operations began in January 1997. The strategically-located, mile-high facility receives abundant light for growing tomatoes during the winter months and cooler temperatures during Southwest summer nights. Two more Village Farms greenhouses are located 10 miles away in Marfa, TX.


Shadowmoss said...

I'll be really interested in hearing about your hydroponic growing, and even before that the design of your greenhouse. It seems counter intuitive to think about hydroponics in the desert. Then again, maybe it makes the most sense. I'll be watching with interest and enthusiasm.

Anonymous said...

Your list covers a number of items that we have done here at our place, solar water heater, chickens, and greenhouse. Don't know what your designs encompass but we found that running a section of polypipe exposed to the sun is better than waiting for a small water tank to heat up during winter days. The concave lens concentrator is something we are looking at building, can see many uses for it.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to visit the greenhouse in Ft. Davis and purchase tomatoes there? Just curious as I'd love to plan a trip just to see--and buy!