Customer Testimonials - Los Poblanos Organics
Challenge - Protecting crops from the elements
Solution - Sixteen 30' wide x 12' high x 96' long Premium Round Style High Tunnels, One 34' wide x 12'3-5/8" high x 96' long Solar Star Gothic Style Greenhouse
Application - Providing high-quality crops to the community through CSA
Location - Albuquerque, NM
Monte Skarsgard observed a demand that needed to be filled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He explains, "I saw that there were a lot of folks in Albuquerque eating natural and organic foods, but there was no real farm or community-supported agriculture (CSA) presence." Instead, the majority of local growers were hobbyists who grew in their spare time. Wanting to offer fresh, locally grown produce in his area, Skarsgard devoted himself full time to farming and started Los Poblanos Organics on five acres of land in 2003.
A CSA, Los Poblanos Organics acquired members at a rapid rate. Skarsgard says, "Our CSA grew from 17 members the first year to 1,700 members right now." Members pay a fee to support the farm's operation and in exchange, receive a share of the produce grown there. They can also work on the farm to receive produce at a reduced rate.
With the popularity of the CSA growing, Skarsgard realized that he needed a way to to start growing crops earlier and also to shelter them from the elements. He chose ClearSpan Premium Round Style High Tunnels and has purchased 16 since 2003. He says, "Our ClearSpan High Tunnels are the secret weapon. They have turned our growing systems into a full 12-month operation. It is February and we are harvesting lettuce and cooking greens, and will put peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and more greens in by the beginning of March."
Skarsgard finds that high tunnel agriculture has helped increase the profitability of his business. He explains, "We've extended our growing season in both directions and produce higher quality fruit with less blemishes, which means less food goes to the pigs." He continues, "Last summer we were harvesting 1,500 lbs. of tomatoes a week out of four high tunnels that are joined together to create one almost 400' long high tunnel. It does not take a mathematician to realize that these things can pay for themselves in one year at that output."
In 2008, Skarsgard added a Solar Star Gothic Style Greenhouse with polycarbonate ends and roll-up sides to his operation. "We use the greenhouse for propagation of greens and roots in the winter, and tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers in the summer. It's working out great."
For any grower looking to add high tunnels or greenhouses to their operation, Skarsgard advises, "Don't wait. You will kick yourself for not using these sooner. We love our structures and will continue to buy them until we run out of land!"