Over the years, we have established relationships with local family farms of all shapes and sizes, including an ever-growing network of more than 100 Amish farmers, that provide us with the best quality produce from right down the road throughout the growing season.
But winter’s bitter temperatures and spring’s cool, wet conditions throughout the Great Lakes region limit the growing season to just a few precious months each year. This means that ‘locally grown’ and ‘year-round’ tend to be phrases that are rarely muttered in the same breath.
One place in Northeast Ohio where it’s peak growing season every day of the year is inside the Great Lakes Growers greenhouse in Burton, Ohio where they’re growing ultra-fresh greens and herbs 365 days per year. That means fresh, locally grown produce is arriving in our stores every week no matter the weather.
What started in a modest greenhouse, smaller in size than the average two car garage in 2011, has grown steadily into a state-of-the-art greenhouse facility covering over two acres and producing nearly 1.5 million heads of fresh living lettuce each year.
Growing sustainable, safe and great tasting greens has always been the goal of Great Lakes Growers’ co-founders John Bonner and Tim Ryan who continue to oversee day-to-day greenhouse operations and innovation. John and Tim are committed to conserving and protecting valuable natural resources in any way possible.
Much like traditional outdoor agriculture, water is the most crucial element to success. In order to keep all those plants healthy and thriving, a specialized water filtration system constantly treats and filters collected rainwater to a pure consumable state before it’s used. Excess water is recycled, re-filtered and re-distributed to plants on a continual basis. This system requires only a fraction of the amount of precious water that’s needed to grow crops in traditional outdoor farming.
Each and every plant is grown from certified non-gmo seeds in a strictly controlled environment that’s free from pests and weeds which means that harsh chemicals like herbicides or pesticides are never used at any point in the growing process. There’s no dirt either, making for the cleanest possible greens in your shopping cart and on your plate. All of this results in superior tasting produce that’s better for both your body and the environment.
This impressive greenhouse harnesses the power the sun along with technology to create a suitable growing environment year-round, even in the harsh Northeast Ohio climate. The glass roof of this massive greenhouse is equipped with automated vents and shades that help ensure ideal growing conditions 24 hours per day and low energy consumption.
Great Lakes Growers lettuces and herbs are delivered direct to each of our stores at the absolute peak of freshness with the root system intact and functioning. This means that you can expect them to stay fresh and tasty longer than traditional cut greens.
Look for Great Lakes Growers ultra-fresh living herbs like basil and cilantro and living butter and oakleaf lettuce at your neighborhood Heinen’s Grocery Store.