Growers reap benefits of protected agriculture

09/14/2012 02:36:00 PM
Tom Burfield

“Indoors, the quality has been outstanding, and I think it’s actually grown the category for us,” he said.

Andrew & Williamson became so enamored with the technology that the company considered growing all of its tomatoes in shade houses.

“We decided we wanted to grow the highest-quality produce possible at any given time of year,” Munger said. “For us, the shade house is a tool to accomplish that.”

Shade houses have their drawbacks, though.

They’re hard to dry out when the weather gets cool and rainy, and those damp conditions can cause mold on the fruit.

That’s why Andrew & Williamson decided to use shade houses when they’re needed to produce top-quality product, but not at certain times or in certain regions where a better piece of fruit can be grown in an open field.

Shade houses play an important role in limiting disease in Baja California during the spring and summer, Munger said, but they play less of a role in Culiacan in the fall when the weather turns rainy.

Today, it’s hard to drive through Baja California or central Mexico without seeing shade houses, Munger said. Five or 10 years ago, they were a rarity.


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