Lipman enters greenhouse deal - The Packer

Lipman enters greenhouse deal

12/06/2012 07:42:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

(UPDATED COVERAGE, 2:07 p.m.) Lipman, known for its field-grown tomato operations, is entering the greenhouse business.

In November, the Immokalee, Fla.-based Lipman finished construction of a 5-acre greenhouse in Naples, Fla.

Lipman greenhousesLipmanKnown for its field-grown tomatoes, Lipman is entering the greenhouse business by growing tomatoes in a 5-acre facility.The Cravo retractable-roof greenhouses protect crops from cold temperatures and wind and rain and should help extend the season by accelerating plant growth and produce more quality tomatoes, said Gerry Odell, Lipman’s chief farming officer.

Though the grower-shipper remains in the experimental stages of greenhouse production, Odell said Lipman is commercially shipping small quantities of a high-flavor grape tomato variety. He said the greenhouse is also growing round and heirloom tomatoes.

Though Lipman has marketed greenhouse cucumbers through a Mexican partnership, Odell said the company plans to initially focus on tomatoes.

He said the entrance into greenhouse production won’t mean a drop in field production.

A short season and higher labor costs than competitors in Mexico also comes with greenhouse tomatoes, he said.

Lipman greenhousesLipmanImmokalee, Fla.-based Lipman is growing some of its tomatoes in greenhouse operations south of Naples, Fla.“There’s obviously a lot of demand at retail for tomatoes grown in protective agriculture,” Odell said. “... The challenge is to develop a hybrid system that allows you to produce tomatoes that are protected and give you yields and quality at a per-unit cost that will keep you competitive in the marketplace.”

Florida’s greenhouse season runs late November until early May before heat prevents fruit setting, Odell said.

He said the greenhouse program works with Lipman’s sustainability efforts.

Lipman grows tomatoes and other vegetables in south and central Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, central California and Mexico, and offers distribution, repacking and logistics services throughout the U.S.

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Atlanta  |  December, 06, 2012 at 07:51 PM

Gerry Odell is one of the best farmers I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He will make it work if it can work.

Vatican City  |  December, 07, 2012 at 06:37 PM

Hey, they don't look Hydroponic, or is this just a bad picture ?? You might have to ask for a special blessing from the Greenhouse Gods to be able to use the word GREENHOUSE in your box ... Just saying ...

Florida  |  December, 07, 2012 at 09:33 PM

You are absolutely right. Growing in soil under roof is not Greenhouse growing by definition. Greenhouse Labeling applies to growing in soilless Medium with fixed environmental controls for heating and cooling. At best It is protected agriculture. Greenhouse growing is high tech environmentallly controlled agricultutre and extremely sanitary. Just saying.

Fernando de Saracho jr.    
Nogales  |  December, 12, 2012 at 12:25 AM

Smart investment, in one freeze his investment will pay 10x it's cost. No offense to any commentators but does it really matter what kind of soil it is grown in? Technology responds to the principle of 'need' period. The carbon footprint of 1# of produce hydroponically and High tech HH grown and sold in Vancouver is .25/lbs. vs .17/lbs for the same product soil grown in Mexico and & shipped all the way and sold in Vancouver. The majority of consumers and many industry salespeople are mis-informed as it seems that most are more interested in phonetics (how a word sounds) than actually finding out why a technology is being used. It doesn't make any sense to use hydroponics in a soil that is rich in minerals, needless to say that a soil grown tomato tastes better than a hydroponic one. Once the public understands that there isn't any difference between High tech vs low or no tech in relationship to the price of produce that some pretend to sell, they won't fall for the 'Greenhouse God's obtuse sales pitch. Soil flavored over hydroponics anytime;

CA  |  December, 20, 2012 at 11:13 PM

I think your comments express exactly how I feel about Shade houses and difference in taste between soil vs hydroponically grown tomatoes.

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