nctimes.com, by By PAT MAIO,CA, United States: The farm, which charges $3 per pound of picked berries, already has one claim to fame: With only 1 acre —- but 46,000 plants —- wired up with the trellislike system, it’s the largest hydroponic vertical strawberry operation in the western United States, according to its maker.
“We have a lot of them in the eastern U.S. and in Florida, but there just are not a lot in California,” said Tim Carpenter, owner of Summerfield, Fla.-based Verti-Gro, and maker of the tubing, poles, wire, plant holders and buckets that make up the system.
The Rainbow farm’s system didn’t come about easily —- or cheaply.
Those involved with the installation of the vertical hydroponic system in Rainbow did not disclose its cost. However, another strawberry grower, Stan Rys, owner of the 35-acre Carlsbad Strawberry Co., said that when he explored installation a few years ago, he faced a charge of $12,000 to $15,000 per quarter acre.
“We rent the land, and a hydroponic system can take five years before it’s right,” said Rys. “It’s all experimental right now.”