Wood Lane Farm: Let us grow lettuce PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN, Sentinel Garden Editor   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 08:35
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Ron Budd turns over dirt at the Wood Lane Greenhouse located at the Ag Incubator Foundation. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Wood Lane Farm is now greener than ever. Green as in the volume of lettuce being grown at its greenhouses, and green as to the money being raised.
The subsidiary of Wood Lane Industries has one of its two greenhouses at the Ag Incubator Foundation filled with four varieties of lettuce.
The farm is now specializing in the lettuce which is being sold in addition to the long-standing community supported agriculture (CSA) shares.
According to Jessica Nagel, who helps oversee the farm, the garden aspects of the business is transitioning into a training program for those with disabilities employed by the farm. The training received in gardening skills, from seeding, planting, watering, harvesting and general tending the garden, can then be used to join the general workforce.
The training also focuses on properly handling and food safety.
"Our goal is that every person will eventually leave us," Nagel said.
One man has graduated from the Wood Lane program and is now employed at Lievens Market in Perrysburg.
Recently Dick Bostdorff, owner of Bostdorff Greenhouse, has come on board and says his role is to "train the trainers."
His expertise has proved valuable and has helped the farm be more productive.
Nagel says they currently grow Romaine, Buttercrunch, Chef's Delight and Bergam's Green.
The Bergam's is a fancier high quality lettuce which is a favorite of the chef at Wood County Hospital. The hospital is one of three sites which receive regular delivery of lettuce. The farm also supplies Wood Lane Schools and Principle Business Enterprise. Nagel says other operations also purchase lettuce when it is available.
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Lettuce from Woodlane's greenhouse.
Nagel says the Chef's Delight is a loose-leaf style of lettuce. The Buttercrunch is a Bibb style and most people are familiar with Romaine.
With the greenhouses at the Ohio 582 site as well as two additional greenhouses at the Wood Lane site on Gypsy Lane Road, they have the capability of operating nearly year-round. The staff of the farm will harvest one bed of lettuce and transplant a new crop in that bed later the same day.
When Bostdorff began working with the farm he said the operation was "not efficient in design nor knowledge."
Nagel did not disagree and they both said the farm now can produce 40 to 50 pounds of lettuce per bed. There are 28 beds mainly producing lettuce in one of the two greenhouses; the other focuses on the wide variety of crops grown for the CSA. Those crops include such things as tomatoes, peppers, radishes, zucchini, beets, kale, collard greens and Swiss chard, to name just a few.
Bostdorff knows production can and will improve as they continue to better utilize the available space in the greenhouses.
With lettuce production clearly a success, they may next expand to larger scale production of tomatoes.
"The key is finding the right varieties that work well indoors," Bostdorff said.
Although as a successful businessman he says it is hard to say, but at the Wood Lane Farm, "Our goal is to break even."
Nagel explained they have a higher labor costs average than most CSAs as their staff may not be as productive because of the training needed and provided.
There are currently 25 shares in the spring CSA, which will blossom to 40 shares in early July.
The farm currently employs nine individuals, with four of those working on any one given day.
Nagel said there are limited openings available in those 40 shares and lettuce and other products are also available for purchase based on the harvest quantities.
For anyone interested in purchasing the produce from Wood Lane Farm, contact Nagel at 419-494-5574.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 08:45
 

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