AUBURN TOWNSHIP — For centuries, farming in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania has always been a way of life, but during the past several years, the economy has forced many farmers to change their ways.
One farm in Susquehanna County is now growing vegetables year-round using solar greenhouses.
Four Seasons Farm Market in Auburn Township, just outside of Meshoppen, grows all different types of veggies, all winter long.
“During the winter, we’ll grow broccoli, and cauliflower, and cabbage, carrots and beets and radishes, and lots of greens,” said Gerald Carlin, owner of Four Seasons Farm Market.
Carlin said it’s made possible by the way the greenhouse is built.
The greenhouses are called passive solar greenhouses.
Instead of all sides having clear plastic paneling, only the south side is open to the sun, while the north side has no windows and is insulated.
Along with the insulation. There are 90 drums full of water that line the insulated side. They help keep the greenhouse from getting too hot in the summer and keep the vegetables from freezing in the winter.
“Water barrels store the heat and it tempers the heat, collects during the daytime, releases at night. Also in the summer time, it absorbs heat during the day. It doesn’t get as hot in here in the summer time,” said Carlin.
Carlin and his family have been farming in Susquehanna County for decades.
They previously owned a dairy farm, but because of the economy, had to switch to grass-fed beef, and raising vegetables.
Carlin said having passive solar greenhouses, is more energy-efficient, and it will save on costs in the long run.
“So far this season, we’ve used 25 gallons of propane for this building, maybe used a hundred gallons during the entire year, which is pretty reasonable,” said Carlin.
Keeping the fresh veggies coming, straight from the farm to the market, while helping out the environment.
Four Seasons Farm Market also has a store on the farm where they sell their fresh vegetables and grass-fed beef, among other goodies. It’s located on State Route 3005 in Auburn Township, near Meshoppen.
If you would like to learn more about 4 Seasons Farm Market, just head to their website.