High tunnels are metal frame buildings with a clear plastic cover that are used to help commercial farmers extend their growing season. In Iowa, the average late spring frost date is around May 15th, therefore most people cannot safely plant their garden until after this date. A high tunnel allows extra protection and added heat which allows commercial growers the opportunity to get an earlier start to the growing season and an earlier start to the harvest season. Extending the season allows consumers to eat fresh fruits and vegetables much sooner and later than the typical gardening season in Iowa.
We currently have seven high tunnels, giving us over 19,000 square feet to grow crops in a well managed environment.
At Country Roads Produce our most popular crops grown in our high tunnels are tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and green beans. We often get questions and comments such as, "Are your tomatoes hydroponic or hot house tomatoes? How do you get them so soon? And, they can't taste as good as a tomato grown outside in the garden!"
All of our high tunnel crops are planted directly into the soil, just like any typical gardener would do. We mulch to maintain a weed free environment with black plastic and straw and every crop is watered with a drip irrigation system. We intensely monitor the conditions of the soil and plant health to guarantee the highest quality product possible when harvested. As for the taste comparison, we have numerous customers comment on the flavor and taste of our produce, some giving us the highest mark of the best they have ever eaten!
Did you even think you could have fresh green beans in late October and early November? Have you ever eaten a fresh, super sweet carrot grown in the cool winter soil? Even when the winter months are approaching, our farm continues production of two popular vegetables, green beans and carrots.
Fall green beans grown in our tunnel are clean and crisp, while winter carrots are the sweetest, with our customers testifying that they taste like candy.
Stay up-to-date on our fall/winter production crops by following our facebook page for posts on harvest dates and information on ordering these two all-time favorites.