As you sit in the comfort of your home, have you ever eaten a perfect tomato on a salad or a burger and wondered the journey that has taken that tomato from field to fork? Or in the case of Mastronardi tomatoes, greenhouse to fork? Recently, members of the FreshPoint team had the pleasure of exploring Mastronardi’s massive greenhouse in Michigan to see all the effort and efficiency in how greenhouse tomatoes in the winter go from vine to plate.
There were a few things that really struck me as interesting while on this tour—now let me preface this by saying that I am a bit of a produce geek.
I have an appreciation for the technical side of things—from the efficiency of movement, the effective use of space, to the overall efficiency that a greenhouse has the capability to produce.
Rather than talk about how neat it is to see greenhouse tomato vines over 10 feet in the air… with their roots running through a media instead of dirt, using recycled rainwater while managing nutrients, temperature, light etc… let’s talk about all the pressures that the farming community is facing—for example the price of land, the increased global demand of produce from population growth, and labor availability just to name a few.
As we walked through acres and acres of greenhouse, it struck me that we could be looking at the future of farming.
To me, strawberry and tomato plants being harvested at chest height, in a controlled environment, seems much more appealing than in the elements bent over to harvest rows of fruit. This method of farming also gives us the opportunity to grow and harvest fresh produce—specifically greenhouse tomatoes in the winter in Michigan.
How does your outdoor garden look that time of year?
With industry leaders such as Mastronardi, who knows what the future has in store for the fresh produce business, but if what they are doing is any indication of what is to come, I would say we are headed down a bright path of flavorful, healthy produce for generations to come.
Content and images provided by Ryan Popke, the National Director of Retail Sales for FreshPoint.