At Hale Farms, we are continually learning and experimenting with innovative techniques that allow us to extend the growing season and better protect and nourish our crops, while maintaining our commitment to sustainable agriculture and organic practices. 

High Tunnels 

High tunnels don't give us more hours in a day, but they give us many extra hours in a growing season.  

A high tunnel is nothing fancy or terribly expensive, just a metal frame covered with greenhouse plastic to warm and shelter our crops. Its heat comes from solar energy, so no electricity is needed. Ventilation and cooling are provided by rolling up the plastic on the sides of the tunnel, and plants are watered through drip irrigation tape installed in each row. 

Hale Farms’ first high tunnel, built in the fall of 2002, is 20 feet wide and 96 feet long. During our first season in the high tunnel, we planted tomatoes in mid-March and harvested our first ripe tomatoes in mid-June, several weeks earlier than tomatoes grown in the field. By late September we had harvested nearly 3 tons of prime quality tomatoes from the 200 plants in the tunnel.

Because the plants in the tunnel are protected from harsh winds, heavy thunderstorms, and sudden drops in nighttime temperatures, they are healthier, stress-free and vigorous. Last year, the tomato plants in the tunnel grew to nearly 12 feet tall! 

This year, we are conducting a high tunnel experiment by companion planting strawberries and tomatoes at the same time to see if two crops can be harvested in one growing season. 

Sustainable Agriculture
"A farmer should live as though he were going to die tomorrow; but he should farm as though he were going to live forever" --Evans, 1966

Sustainable agriculture creates an environment where biodiversity is high, plant nutrients are recycled, soil is protected from erosion, water is conserved and not polluted, and tillage is minimized.  We believe that even small family farms can have a big impact on our environment by adhering to organic, natural production methods that regenerate the land while producing plenty of fresh, healthy food for our communities.  

You can support the goals of sustainable agriculture by spending more of your food-buying dollars on natural products that have been produced by sustainable farms.  It's now easier than ever to find out where your food is coming from and how it is produced.  Just ask your local grocer or restaurant manager, or stop by your local Farmers Market and talk directly to the growers!

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