Vermont Hydroponic Venture Emerges Out of Barroom Conversation, and a Desire to Grow Year-round

Seedstock Article
October 25, 2016 | Pamela Hunt

"Like many great plans, Vermont’s Green Mountain Harvest Hydroponics operation began as a barroom conversation among friends. In the early 1990s farmer David Hartshorn and his now business partners, brothers John and Ted Farr, sat around discussing their dream of building a greenhouse to enable them to grow produce year-round. At the time, though, the energy costs required to bring the project online were so prohibitive that they tabled the idea." Read more...

A Hydroponic Farm Makes Vermont Winters Tastier

 Seven Days, Alice Levitt

Seven Days, Alice Levitt

Seven Days, Alice Levitt, 10/2013

"Long winters have always been the bête noire of Vermont farmers and foodies alike. But what if there were a way to cheat the dreary days and improve the quality of the produce in the process? Dave Hartshorn of Waitsfield thinks he’s found it.

Hartshorn and his partners, John and Ted Farr, own Green Mountain Harvest Hydroponics. It’s not the first Vermont farm to produce winter greens — several, including Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury, have found success in that endeavor. But Hartshorn and the Farrs bring it a step further using a modern take on an ancient technique. Read more..."

Vt. grower sees hydroponics as future of farming

 WCAX News

WCAX News

WCAX TV, by Alexei Rubenstein, 2/2014

"The temperature outside may be in the teens, but inside Green Mountain Harvest Hydroponics' quarter-acre greenhouse, it's harvest time all year-round.

David Hartshorn and two partners started the Waitsfield operation last year on what used to be his folks' dairy farm. Although he still runs an organic vegetable farm down the road, he's convinced hydroponics is the future.

"My organic farm, I have a disaster every single year of some sort," Hartshorn said. "I think you're going to find that this country is going to be moving toward climate protected agriculture in a big way, based on fuel, based on climate change." Watch the video.

Green Mountain Harvest Hydroponics Keeps it Fresh

 
hydroreb.jpg

VHCB (Vermont Farm & Forest and Viability Program)

"Dave Hartshorn and John and Ted Farr have been thinking about growing produce hydroponically for decades. When they considered the ideas 20 years ago “the technology wasn’t there yet,” said John. Three years ago, the timing was right and they started Green Mountain Harvest Hydroponics. Their main greenhouse was previously used on a flower farm in Colorado, and thus far they are farming about a quarter of an acre, with room to expand. When Dave, John and Ted first dipped their toes into different markets they had difficulty finding the right one, but eventually they got an account at Wholefoods and now they are delivering six to seven times as much product as when they started out.

“Our products get a great response,” said John. “Everyone loves our produce because of its quality and long shelf life.” Their basil frequently stays fresh up to 10 days, as opposed to basil grown outdoors which often lasts half as long. A key component in maintaining product quality is their new refrigerated truck. GMHH employees deliver directly to stores in the Boston area and the truck helps keep boxes of produce at peak freshness. Dave applied for a Business Plan Implementation Grant through VHCB’s Farm and Forest Viability Program to help pay for the purchase of the truck and received matching funds last year. John explained to us the importance of the grant, “We would not have been able to buy a new van if not for the grant. We would have had to purchase a used one, in worse condition. It’s difficult to find a used refrigerated van in good condition. This one should last us 10 years.”

New Lights at Green Mountain Harvest
Valley Reporter, 1/2014