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At Red Basket Farm in Kinsman, Floyd Davis tends to newly planted tomatoes in his high-tunnel greenhouse. The structure looks like a conventional greenhouse, but Davis said you can grow plants in the soil.
“The same as we do in the field, it’s not heated and it’s naturally ventilated,” said Davis.
The greenhouse allows Davis to grow produce year-round.
“The key to it really is selecting varieties that can handle a freeze-thaw cycle,” said Davis.
Amy Arnold has worked full-time on the farm for almost a year.
“Different crops and different things are growing,” said Arnold. “In the winter, you would come and the whole thing would be full just like it is today.”
Red Basket Farm specializes in unique produce such as kale. The farm produces two types, Swiss chard and garlic.
“A lot of Asian greens, several varieties of bok choy, mustard greens, katsoy, commutsuna,” said Davis.
Davis said the demand for kale is especially high as its popularity rises, but that wasn’t always the case.
“Going back about four years, I grew almost none,” said Davis. “I mean you almost couldn’t sell it. This year, we already have 4,000 plants set out.”
Now, kale is one of the vegetables customers request. They sell at local farm markets and participate in Community Supported Agriculture. The program provides fresh produce to anyone that subscribes. They have drop-offs in Cortland and Howland and also supply produce to Grow Youngstown.
“When we go to the local market, everybody is so excited to see the new things that are coming out, and every week we have something different,” said Arnold. “The people are so excited to be able to know where they’re getting their food from and be able to have it fresh and delivered that day. We pick it that day and deliver it that day.”
For Davis, it’s amazing to see how the Red Basket Farm has grown since it began in 2005.
“Started with just about a quarter acre of sweet corn and a little bit of tomato plants, a little bit of pepper plants,” said Davis. “We’re to the point now where we’re farming almost 12 acres all together.
With the warmer weather, Davis is doing a lot of planting outside. Peas, zucchini and summer crops are going in the ground. He said in the field, a more natural or sustainable approach is taken to growing.
As plants are moved from the greenhouse to the field, Davis said expansion at the farm is coming.
“This will specifically be for starting seeds and growing out transplants to be planted, not only in the high tunnel, but also out in the field,” said Davis. “We’ve outgrown the propagation space that we have so that’s why I’m building this one now.”