Greg Yutzy, the owner of Yutzy’s Farm Market, is relatively new to growing produce in a greenhouse. Yutzy’s business was founded by his parents, Irvin and Dorothy, in 1984 as a farm market selling field-grown melons, strawberries and sweet corn in Plain City, Ohio. Over time, it evolved into selling bulk foods and deli meat in addition to outdoor crops.
It wasn’t until roughly two years ago, when winter harvests from California became too expensive to buy and re-sell, that Yutzy looked into adding a greenhouse to his operation. About a year later, he opened his greenhouse to grow hydroponic lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and other crops all in the same 3,000-square-foot facility. Their crops are then sold directly to consumers with no middle man needed.
“When we grow it ourselves, we have total control over the project,” Yutzy says. “When we were buying through wholesalers, we were bringing in vegetables during the winter that were at least a week old. Now, we are able to harvest every single day.”
According to Yutzy, that freshness is what sets his business apart from the competition, and it wouldn’t be possible without CropKing. Yutzy began working with CropKing after first hearing about their products at growers’ meetings and seminars hosted by the company.
At those events, CropKing walked Yutzy through the entire process of adding a greenhouse in terms of cost, size and the timetable to complete it. Since then, Yutzy says CropKing has been there every step of the way to help way to help him with whatever challenges pop up. Even the program outline CropKing provided — which includes fertilizer information, descriptions of products and which varieties to grow — has proven to be essential.
“We bought a complete system from them,” Yutzy says. “CropKing has always been there — I think I’ve talked to them three times this week to make some minor tweaks, and they are just so willing to help.”
The main problem Yutzy faces with the greenhouse is keeping crops fresh even when it gets cold during typically frigid Central Ohio winters. Even still, his top priority is to make sure his customers can expect the same produce quality whether they are shopping in the springtime or the middle of winter.
Yutzy says that CropKing makes it easy to accomplish his goal. Even though he and his family built the greenhouse themselves instead of hiring a crew, CropKing provided detailed instructions on how to build the greenhouse and answered any questions he had along the way.
Ultimately, Yutzy has built on what his parents started 32 years ago: how to offer fresh produce year-round.
“We never lose that home-grown freshness we have,” he says. “People really like that because you can’t find that in any store. It’s like having the summer growing season year-round.” — Chris Manning