New crops are started every week, feeding a cycle that allows for fresh produce to be picked and sold every Saturday.
“It was a pretty big up-front cost, but when we were looking at it the return that we would get — especially doing lettuces, seeing that return in six or eight weeks — it was worth it to us. And we figured that if it was something that worked, we could build onto the system,” Susan said.
The family is used to growing outdoors, where most things are out of their control. Indoors, everything from the carbon to the light can be controlled. The light is key; in mid-February, Susan said they were only getting about four per cent of the ideal amount of sunlight.
Things have been running pretty smoothly in the greenhouse, but the Lesters have been learning as they go how different factors can affect the operation.
“We like to call ourselves jacks of all trades, master of none, on everything on our farm. This is kind of a prime example,” Susan said in February. “Now that we’re getting longer days — even though they’re still not extremely long — you can see that the romaine, for instance, is actually the same colour as what you would get in the summer. So it’s after improving, because we’re after making a few tweaks to it.”