The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 1, 2013

High Tunnel -- or hoop house -- Tour is Nov. 16

PRESTON — Learn more about growing fruits and vegetables in high tunnels, also known as hoop houses, on Saturday, Nov. 16.

A tour will be held at Mike and Lorri Schmidt’s farm located at 41237 17th St., Preston, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Schmidts’ high tunnel was built in 2012. Cool season vegetables are currently being grown in it.

Lori Schnoor, Jackson County District Conservationist, of the Natural Resources Conservation Service says, “The tour will provide interested people an opportunity to see first-hand how it was built and how it is working and to ask a lot of questions.”

USDA-NRCS has funding opportunities for high tunnels as part of the Secretary Tom Vilsack’s objective of increasing local food production.

The tour will cover construction and operation, financial assistance, marketing, and fruit and vegetable production. Laura Krause, Abbe Hills Farm, also will share her experience and expertise. Krause runs a very successful vegetable farming operation in Cedar County utilizing high tunnels.

High Tunnels are simple, plastic-covered, passive solar-heated structures in which crops are grown in the ground. Benefits include extending the growing season; improving quality and yields; receiving higher prices for out of season crops; and planting, maintaining and harvesting can be performed without being affected by weather.

The tour is being sponsored by The Schmidts, Jackson County ISU Extension, River Bend Buy Fresh Buy Local and NRCS. For more information, call Schnoor at (563) 652-2337, Ext. 3.

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