Green Mountain Harvest Hydroponics Keeps it Fresh

ela john

John Farr gives Viability Program Director Ela Chapin and her son a tour of the Green Mountain Harvest Hydroponics greenhouse.

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.”

The Vermont Farm Viability Program is a program
of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.