About 70% of produce is wholesaled locally to restaurants and grocery stores with 30% going to two Yarnick's Markets and farmers markets. Customers are able to keep up with farm activities through the farm website, Facebook page and biweekly e-newsletter. Three food and music festivals are also held at the farm annually.
Danny Yarnick gave us a tour of his extensive greenhouse production.
Several houses were devoted to growing transplants for use on the farm as well as for sale at their farm markets and to other farmers. Many cultivars of cabbage, broccoli, beets, onions, spinach, various types of lettuce, kale and kohlrabi were grown in 120-cell flats and 6-packs. Tomatoes and peppers were in 4-inch pots. We were impressed with the uniformity of the transplants. In the seeding house pallets of plastic flats filled with Pro Mix germination medium were waiting to be seeded with a vacuum seeder. A large volume of seed were organized by type in plastic storage containers.
One of several greenhouses filled with transplants.
The vacuum seeder.
'Fusion' lettuce heads, a cross between Romaine and leaf lettuces, were being grown in 3 gallon black polybags. The crop was transplanted in mid-February and after 4 weeks was ready to be harvested for sale to a local restaurant chain. New bags and soil are used for each crop and crop we saw was top quality. Danny has worked out his fertility program over his 30+ years of growing experience. Lettuce heads were also grown in a nutrient film technology (NFT) system. Originally most of his hydroponic crops were grown using NFT, but over the years Danny has switched most of his production to the polybag system.
Hydroponic lettuce grown in a polybag system ready for harvest.
This lettuce grown in a NFT system was being harvested.
Tomatoes were growing in white on black 5 gallon polybags filled with potting media spaced in a double staggered row with 16 inches between bags. Each bag had 2 plants and most plants were trained to one stem. However, Danny was experimenting this year with a 2-stemmed system for his cherry tomatoes as a way to increase his yields. A wide variety of cultivars were growing including large heirlooms, cherry tomatoes of various colors, plum tomatoes and slicers. Danny says that he's "always looking for something tastier." Bumble bees were used to pollinate the crop. All available space in every greenhouse was used with crops including kale, kohlrabi, spinach, radishes and bunching onions growing along the side and end walls.
One of the hydroponic tomato houses.
Danny is experimenting with a 2-stemmed training system for cherry tomatoes this year.
Hydroponic spinach growing along a sidewall in a greenhouse.
Eggplants and peppers, both hot and bell types, were growing in the white on black 5 gallon polybags with two plants per bag. Plants were being trained to two stems. Rebar and wooden stakes were spaced about every 5 feet in a row of plants. A Florida weave system was going to be used to support the plants. Bumble bees were also being used to pollinate these crops. Insect pests in all of the greenhouses were managed primarily with biocontrols. Danny's attention to detail and expertise as a grower were quite evident on our visit. Plants were extremely uniform and the plant quality was excellent.
Stakes in the eggplant house will be used to implement the Florida weave training system.
Once pepper plants break, they will be trained to 2-stems.
Being March, activity in the fields was minimal. An early crop of sweet corn had been planted under floating row covers and the straw over 3.5 acres of strawberries will be removed soon. Plastic much had been laid and drip irrigation installed over several rows in anticipation of spring planting.
Straw mulch will be removed from the strawberry planting soon. Row cover is used on early sweet corn.
A Styrofoam container tower system originally used for strawberries was being used to grow herbs in a greenhouse connected to the farm market. In the market were high quality displays of produce and processed goods and a wide variety of neat things including Danny's musical CDs. In addition to farming, Danny expresses his passion for music and performing via the accordion and song and has produced several CDs. We enjoyed hearing "When Banana Skins Are Falling" at the end of our tour.
Basil, cilantro, mints and other herbs were growing in tower systems. The basil crop had just been harvested and was being replanted.
Yarnick's Market had beautiful displays and a wide variety of products.
155 Thomas Covered Bridge Road