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What does greenhouse-grown mean?
A greenhouse is a structure covered with glass or plastic that is designed to provide farmers with ideal growing conditions for their crops. The greenhouse growing system allows growers to recycle water and nutrients, reduce or eliminate pesticide use, and produce a year-round supply of high quality produce.
Greenhouse-grown has many meanings depending on your point of view; some would call shade cloth stretched over the crops a greenhouse. Nature Fresh Farms describes greenhouse grown as the most technically advanced growing systems designed to produce wholesome and safe food in the most sustainable way!
What is the difference between hydroponics and aquaponics?
There are different varieties of methods which are described as hydroponic, but all have the same commonality, the plants are grown without soil. This means the roots may be immersed in water or be grounded in rock wool, gravel, sand or many other mediums. Nature Fresh Farms' hydroponic system has the plant roots growing in a ground coconut substrate with dissolved minerals supplied in the irrigation water.
Aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in.
How do you feed the plants?
The plants are fed by mixing nutrients into the irrigation water to ensure the plants are receiving exactly what they need.
Every two weeks the Growers send leaf samples and irrigation water to a laboratory, who returns information regarding the health of the plants. Deficiencies are adjusted using macro and micro nutrients.
How do you make sure the plants are getting enough water?
Plants are watered by a sophisticated system of computer software modelling, grower inputs, weigh scales, and sensors that work together to determine the exact timing and amount of water applied daily. The plants react and are susceptible to the amount of sunlight they are exposed to, the greenhouse sensors record the temperature and sunlight and trigger more or less water, more or less shade (curtain closure), or more or less ventilation.
How often do you pick?
The picking frequency depends on the ripening effect of the sunshine the plants receive, as well as the commodity. For example, Mini Cucumbers are picked daily!
Are the Bell Peppers, Tomatoes or Cucumbers clean enough to eat without washing them?
Nature Fresh Farms produce is handled with the upmost care from being grown indoors, undergoing very minimal handling and following the highest of food safety and hygiene standards. However, all produce should still be washed prior to consumption.
Where should I store my produce?
Check out our Veggie Storage Guide to learn how to properly store your Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, and Cucumbers!
How do I know if my produce comes from Nature Fresh Farms?
Look for the Nature Fresh Farms logo on the produce sticker or packaging label.
What is lycopene?
Lycopene is a carotenoid and phytonutrient found in red fruits and vegetables, especially Tomatoes. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is shown to be utilized in cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention. For more information about lycopene, check out our blog.
How do you control pests?
To control pests we use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. This system basically means we use good bugs to fight off the bad bugs!
Are Nature Fresh Farms products genetically modified (GMO)?
No. Nature Fresh Farms’ greenhouse vegetables are non-GMO verified.
How much wood do you use in one year?
In one year we use approximately 15,000 tons of clean waste wood!
What type of wood do you use to heat your greenhouse?
We use scrap wood that would have normally gone to a landfill. Wood such as –
- Scrap pallets
- Cut offs from wood spool manufacturers
- Hard wood flooring manufacturing cut offs
- Construction waste
How do you know what the plants want & how to feed the plants?
We run tests on the feed water going into the plant, so we know precisely what is being offered. We also run tests on the leach water to determine what the plant did not utilize. Finally, we run tests on new and old leaf samples to see what the plant is using and what it has in its reserve.
What does it mean when you say you have a “remote controlled greenhouse”?
All functions in the greenhouse are monitored by a computer system. The Growers set the tolerances of acceptable conditions and are aware of the condition of their crop 24/7. If the computer sees a condition which becomes out of acceptable tolerances, it alerts the Grower on his/her smartphone. If required, the Grower can make adjustments and/or resets on their smartphone, otherwise the Grower will come to the site location to check or correct the situation.
How do you predict and avoid risks?
We operate under HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) to ensure process flow. Each risk area is identified and prerequisites are put in place to prevent or eliminate the risk.
Why do Bell Peppers come in different colors?
All Bell Peppers actually start off as Green! Based on the variety they then change to their own color (Red, Yellow or Orange). For more fun Bell Pepper facts, check out our blog.
What happens if there is a power failure? In the winter do the plants freeze?
Backup generators come to life within 10-15 seconds of a power failure; bringing 100% of the power back to the farm!
What is the difference between Greenhouse-Grown Bell Peppers and Organic Bell Peppers at Nature Fresh Farms?
There are three distinct differences between Greenhouse-Grown Bell Peppers and Organic Bell Peppers at Nature Fresh Farms.
#1 - Nature Fresh Farms Organic Bell Peppers are grown in a soil mixture, somewhat similar to the soil in your garden. The soil contains naturally occurring substances that create an organic ecosystem within the soil. Our greenhouse-grown plants are rooted in shredded coconut husks that act as a structural base for the plant. The shredded coconut holds moisture to an extent and drains excess water that will be reused.
#2 - The feed that is given to our Organic Bell Peppers consists of all natural sources of nutrients. We use a variety of organic substances that have not been manipulated in any way. Our greenhouse-grown plants are fed exclusively with mined minerals that have been extracted from the Earth and synthesized to be water-soluble. This allows our plants to uptake the nutrients effortlessly. Whatever the plant does not use gets recycled back in to our plant nutrition system. We have a 100% closed loop system to avoid any wastewater getting in to the local waterways.
#3 - To avoid pest outbreaks, we use an Integrated Pest Management program (IPM) that uses good bugs to control or eliminate bad bugs in our Organic Bell Pepper crop. At times, as a supplement, organic approved pest control measures may be used to control pest populations. We use the exact same IPM strategy for our Greenhouse-Grown Bell Peppers, which greatly reduces or eliminates the requirement for pesticides.
To learn more about our IPM strategy and how we use good bugs like Lady Bugs to take care of the bad bugs, check out this YouTube video.