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GREG Winter Vegetable Crop Production and Marketing

Project Leaders: Rosie Carter and Charles Barry, Stone Free Farm, Cortez, CO

Technical Advisor: Kenny Smith, CSU Cooperative Extension Service, Cortez, CO

Project Year: 2003-04

Project Summary

Through our Specialty Crops Grant, we researched winter vegetable crop production in an unheated greenhouse and the direct marketing of these crops. Like most other small-scale produce farms in Colorado , we deal with seasonal fluctuations in our income and our workload – high in the summer and low to nonexistent in the winter. The goal of our grant was to look at the feasibility of producing crops in the winter in order to even out our annual income and to identify a new winter marketing niche that doesn’t have the same competition level as summer sales. We found that it is possible to raise certain crops in unheated greenhouses in the winter, but that the short days and cold temperatures cause the crops to grow very slowly, resulting in small harvests in the middle of the winter. Ideally, unheated greenhouses should be used to extend the summer season a few months on either end and lay dormant in December and January. The market for local, winter-grown produce in Southwest Colorado is substantial. All the natural food stores, several restaurants, and summer farmers market customers could keep several farmers in business during the off-season.

Click here for the full text of the 2003 Final Report (Word document).


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