“The Heliospectra lights mimic the sun and enable Green Mountain to supplement natural daylight during the shorter winter days and adjust to changes in local weather. The ability to forecast production and predictable, repeatable harvest results has proven invaluable for our business.”
David Hartshorn, John Farr and Ted Farr founded Green Mountain Harvest Hydroponic in 2013 with the vision to provide fresh lettuce, herbs and leafy greens to local, specialty retailers in Waitsfield, Vermont.
Fast forward four years to 2017 and the Green Mountain Harvest team is now supplying flavorful, locally grown summer crisp lettuce, spring mix, basil and watercress to an expanded account base of New England grocers that includes Whole Foods stores in the Boston, Massachusetts area.
In November 2016, Green Mountain Harvest strategically scaled operations to establish consistent year-round yields, replacing traditional HPS lights with Heliospectra LED lighting solutions across their 11,000 square foot (1,022 square meter) greenhouse.
“As soon as the new LEDs were installed, Green Mountain recognized immediate benefits from the optimized light spectrum,” explains John Farr.
By controlling consistency, plant health and crop quality, Green Mountain Harvest has standardized the fresh weight on the summer crisp lettuce to 6 or 7 ounces per head. Farr adds that consistent weight was very difficult to achieve under HPS.
Green Mountain experienced a 50% reduction in the yellowing on the bottom lettuce leaves because the lights penetrate down deeper into the canopy. The optics and uniform light distribution also reduce tip burn. The immediate impacts produced more usable plant material and also boosted biomass and appearance for each head of lettuce.
The LED light strategies also helped create stronger root systems for lettuce, basil and watercress before seedlings were moved to the main bays of the greenhouse.
And the ability to extend the shelf life of basil and control consistent stem length at harvest enabled Green Mountain Harvest to revamp product packaging and bring fresher, higher quality produce to retail.