Meet Tracy & Dan Painter of Painter Produce near Henry & Scottsbluff, NE!
What Painter Produce offers:
- Fresh herbs
- Variety of dried beans including black and kidney beans
- Chicken eggs
- Value added goodies like pet treats, pasta sauce, picante, & dehydrated vegetables!
"We are believers in growing what you like to eat."
Having grown up in the Midwest, Tracy & Dan know what it tastes like to enjoy meat & homegrown produce at the end of a hard day. As a vegetable farm, they grow everything but the meat for the dinner table. Dan is the master of the garden, and Tracy is the master of logistics taking the products to their market stand, making deliveries, preserving vegetables, & helping with the harvest. What's even more incredible is that they have produce available year round! That isn't easy in the climate of north-western Nebraska - a Gardening Zone 4 - with very cold winters and very short time between last frost in the spring and first frost in autumn. So, how do they keep vegetables on the table for most of the year?
Fresh Nebraska-Grown Vegetables in December - Using Hoop Houses to Extend the Growing Season
The Panhandle of Nebraska is known for late-spring and early-fall frosts, but produce at Painter Produce is protected from the elements in a hoop house. A hoop house, also known as a high tunnel, is a valuable tool for not only vegetable farmers, but also backyard gardeners. Their hoop houses are made of steel frames covered in heavy plastic that acts as a passive solar greenhouse (no propane or natural gas needed) where plants are still able to grow in the ground, but are sheltered from severe weather. Hoop houses are more affordable and easier to operate than traditional greenhouses.
Hoop houses allow Painter Produce to plant early in the spring or keep plants alive later into the fall. They built their first hoop house in 2012 to produce early tomatoes and peppers for customers. They now have built 4 hoop houses, and have expanded the variety of vegetables they grow in the structures to include zucchini, carrots, beets, celery, cucumbers, green beans, cabbage, etc.
During the winter months, Painter Produce relies on root cellar storage to make locally grown produce available all year. Cabbage, potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, etc. are stored below ground in temperature between 32° and 41° with a high humidity. They are also able to store onions and winter squash in a newly constructed Farm Stand building.
Interesting in learning more about Hoop Houses?
- How to Build a Hoop House by Modern Farmer
- 12 Hoop House Plans
- DIY Bean Tunnel or Hoop House by Homesteading Family
Below are pictures of one of the Painter Produce hoop houses, a beautiful basket of produce from their farm stand, and their newly constructed Farm Stand building.