Grow Ohio Valley blooms through winter

WORKING — Sierra Crupe of Wheeling, a member of Grow Ohio Valley’s local farm team, harvests lettuce inside the one of the organization’s 30-by-100-foot high-tunnel greenhouses located at its Lincoln Meadows Farm in Wheeling. -- Scott McCloskey

WHEELING — Even in the midst of the frigid January temperatures, Grow Ohio Valley continues to bring quality nutritious produce to the local Public Market in downtown Wheeling and other local nutrition programs through the use of high tunnel greenhouse technology.

Grow Ohio Valley Urban Farm Manager Sarah Stec said there is a tremendous satisfaction that comes along with being able to cultivate and grow good nutritious crops year-round at the nonprofit organization’s two 30-by-100-foot high tunnel greenhouses.

The greenhouses are located at the organization’s Lincoln Meadows Farm at Vineyard Hills overlooking downtown Wheeling. There, Grow Ohio Valley can control the temperature, moisture and other environmental factors. Grow Ohio Valley began its high tunnel program nearly five years ago.

Stec said the group can pick from several different crops all winter long if they’re brought to maturity by mid-November each season. Lettuce, radishes, carrots, spinach and a variety of herbs are just a few of what they continue to grow and sell locally through the winter. Grow Ohio Valley uses the same space in warmer months to grow tomato plants and cucumbers.

“It will regrow, as long as you can get it to the critical point where it’s big enough to pick from by a certain time of the year — which is mid-November,” Stec explained. “We’ll pick from those high tunnels into May … We’ll kind of get the winter greens out and get the summer crops in (during) May,” she added.

Stec said in addition to their high tunnel location, they grow pea shoots at their 14th Street greenhouse and winter spinach at the organization’s ‘Farm 18’ site located along 18th Street simply by covering it over with a row cover fabric.

She said there are about four Grow Ohio Valley employees devoted to the farm throughout the winter.

Stec recommends for area residents looking for locally grown quality produce to stop by the Public Market, located at 1401 Main St. Wheeling, inside the Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Transportation Center.

Sierra Crupe of Wheeling, a member of Grow Ohio Valley’s local farm team who was busy harvesting lettuce inside the high tunnels Monday, said she takes a tremendous amount of pride in growing produce crops locally.

“I love it. I’m very proud of what I do here,” Croup commented. “It’s my hometown, so it’s really nice to see something come of it and flourish.”


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