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What does Hydroponic Growing mean?
No, our tomatoes are not grown underwater! Our tomato plants are not grown in soil, rather they root into a growing medium made of Rockwool, a stone-wool substrate. We use drippers to irrigate the plants with a water and nutrient mix. As the plants grow we hang the vines from the ceiling and they grow up to a range of 25 to 30 feet in length within the 11 month growing season.
Is it true Hydroponic tomatoes have less flavor than field grown?
This is False! Hydroponically grown tomatoes have every bit as much flavor as field grown varieties. Hydroponics has been a proven method of growing delicious tomatoes for decades. Most American retailers used to purchase tomatoes on-the-vine from Holland, where these growing techniques originated, as well as Mexico and Canada. In 1998 we imported the authentic Dutch growing practices when we opened Intergrow Greenhouses in Western, NY, where we pick all of our tomatoes fully ripe and ship them daily to your stores, providing consumers with delicious, local tomatoes all year-round.
Why should I buy Intergrow vine tomatoes instead of regular field tomatoes?
Tomatoes that you buy on the vine have longer shelf life than field tomatoes picked off of the vine. Just leave them on your countertop (NEVER refrigerate) and they should last you a good week or two! Also, tomatoes that are sold on the vine have been grown in a greenhouse, ensuring a much safer product that is free of disease and contamination. Also, because our plants are grown in a controlled environment, we can effectively use natural predators to control pests, so pesticide use is reduced to a minimum.
Are Intergrow Tomatoes Organic? What about pesticides?
Intergrow Tomatoes are not organic, we use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) where we introduce predator bugs to control any pests. We are also in the process of becoming certified pesticide free!
Were you affected by the summer tomato blight?
Our tomatoes were not affected by the late blight that affected many field crops in our area in the summer of 2009. Because our tomatoes are grown in a greenhouse we can regulate temperature and humidity and protect our plants from harmful diseases.
Do you grow your tomatoes all year round?
Yes, but our production slows down a lot in the winter months because we do not use any artificial lighting in our greenhouse. With less sunlight in the wintertime our plants grow at a slower rate than the rest of the year.
How do you pollinate the plants?
We use bumble bees for natural pollination. We bring in 20 hives every two weeks to pollinate the greenhouse.
What water source do you use for irrigating the plants?
Instead of using city water, we catch rain water and snow melt off of our roof. All excess water is recycled, creating a completely closed system.
How do you heat the greenhouse?
As an alternative to fossil fuels, we use biomass boilers that burn waste wood. The boilers heat the rainwater that is pumped through piping in the greenhouse floor. Also, we have curtains that cover the glass ceiling in the wintertime to conserve 60% -more energy.