Backyard Farms is a Madison, Maine-based agricultural company specializing in massive greenhouses to produce vine-ripened tomatoes. It had been owned by Devonshire Investors, a Boston-based branch of Fidelity Investments but was sold in June 2017 to a Canadian produce company, Mastronardi Produce of Ontario.
The company was started in 2004. In 2007, the company’s first 25-acre (100,000 m2) greenhouse was built in Madison, Maine, making it the largest building by volume in the state. It covers the area of 20 football fields. The 240,000 plants grow up to 10 feet tall and are projected to yield 1 million tomatoes each week. Their second greenhouse, connected to the first, was built in 2009. The combined area was then 42 acres (170,000 m2). Plants are grown in rock wool and pollinated by bumblebees that are kept inside the greenhouses. Rainwater that sheds off the greenhouse roofs is recycled to supplement the water used to irrigate the plants.
Although the tomatoes originally had been a specialty variety called "Backyard Beauty", they had been replaced with other, undisclosed varieties. There had been plans for the operation to expand to include peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, herbs, and strawberries.
- Ladd, Chris (March 30, 2010). "Giant Greenhouses Mean Flavorful Tomatoes All Year". New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
When it was built three years ago, the company’s first 24-acre greenhouse in Madison was already the largest building in Maine. This second connected greenhouse, completed last year, brought the total area under glass to some 42 acres, or roughly the size of 32 football fields. Even in the depths of winter, a million tomatoes ripen indoors to harvest each week, snipped from their vines by workers in T-shirts and shorts. ...
- Harlow, Doug (March 16, 2010). "Massive tomato-growing operation in Madison is thriving". Morning Sentinel. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
- A heaavy loss in Fidelity's pursuit of the perfect tomato. June 9, 2017
- "About Us". Backyard Farms. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
- Harkavy, Jerry (February 1, 2007). "25-Acre Greenhouse Thriving in Maine". Associated Press in the Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
In Madison, the glass-covered greenhouse on a former dairy farm stretches nearly as far as the eye can see. At more than 1 million square feet, it is roughly the size of six Wal-Mart Supercenters or more than 20 football fields. With a capacity of 240,000 plants growing up to 10-feet tall, the greenhouse is projected to yield 1 million tomatoes a week. That adds up to 7,700 tons a year. And that could be only the beginning.
- Vandergiessen, Arie (April 2008). "Summer Fresh Tomatoes Available Year-Round". Tomato Magazine. COlumbia Publications. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
- "Backyard Farms". Madison, Maine. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
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