Wednesday, April 30, 2008

High Tunnel Vision...from Missouri Produce Growers

Fahrmeier Bros. Produce was featured recently in the Kansas City more below.

An increasing number of area farmers like Bret Fahrmeier of Fahrmeier Farms in Lexington, Mo., are using high tunnels to extend the Midwest growing season. This year Fahrmeier Farms plans to sell 250 tons of tomatoes to Cosentino’s Price Chopper stores.

Last year Brandon Fahrmeier, 33, and brother Bret, 25, grew 100 tons of tomatoes in the 24-foot-wide, 303-foot-long high tunnels, enough to supply 14 Cosentino’s Price Chopper supermarkets. This year the Fahrmeiers plan to more than double production, allowing them to serve all 23 of the company’s area stores.

Although a high tunnel can cost up to $10,000, it can be a good investment. “For us, it’s a no brainer. Last year we got a $15 heirloom tomato with no blemishes,” Brandon Fahrmeier says with obvious pride.

Heirloom varieties such as Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra and German Stripe make up about 10 percent of the Fahrmeiers’ crop. By grafting heirloom seedlings onto hybrid vines, the brothers can increase disease resistance in the older, less-hardy varieties without affecting their size, shape or flavor.

And local consumers are willing to pay $4.99 a pound for what many think is a tastier fruit.

Read the entire story. View a slideshow of photos from the Fahrmeier Farm Visit.

The Fahrmeier's will be hosting a field day on June 23...stay tuned for details about the tour on the blog.

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