UPDATED: Backyard Farms pulls out entire tomato crop

07/24/2013 08:35:00 AM
Andy Nelson

tomatoGreenhouse tomato grower Backyard Farms LLC will replant its entire crop because of an infestation of white flies.

The Madison, Maine-based grower-shipper began removing its tomato crop the week of July 8, said Mike Aalto, a company spokesman.

Because the entire crop will be replanted, Backyard Farms will not have tomatoes available until late fall, Aalto said.

The company grows greenhouse tomatoes year-round on 42 acres and focuses on the Northeast in its distribution.

Because Backyard Farms is a private company, Aalto would not share expected financial losses.

The company expects a quick recovery.

“Short term it hurts, but in the long term it looks to be OK,” Aalto said. “We’ve had a lot of support from our retailers and consumers.”

Aalto said the company is confident its retail partners will be able to find alternative sources until the next crop of Backyard Farms tomatoes is ready.

“We’ve encouraged them to find other sources, and they seem pretty plugged in.”

It’s not unusual for some white flies to show up in greenhouses, but this is the first time Backyard Farms has had to pull out plants because of them, Aalto said.

After removing plants, the company heated its greenhouse to a level where white flies can’t survive, he said.

In March, Backyard Farms opened a new research-and-development facility next door to an existing greenhouse. At the facility, the company is experimenting with new seed varieties and other new technologies.



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