Local farm provides delicious tomatoes in the winter - FOX Carolina 21

Local farm provides delicious tomatoes in the winter

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One East Texas couple is supplying fresh summer vegetables in the winter through their organic hydroponics system.

"I've always been interested in agriculture. I grew up out in the country on a farm places and I just always wanted to grow things," said local farmer Charles Delker.

When Delker moved to Garden Valley, he decided to start a tomato and cucumber farm, but he wanted to do it a little differently.

"We both decided to read up on hydroponics growing. It was very interesting to us and it definitely was a challenge. I said, 'Hey I think I can do that,'" Delker said. 

Delker decided to start growing tomatoes and other vegetables hydroponically - without the use of soil - in a greenhouse. they heat the vegetables in the winter, and use an irrigation system to supply nutrients.

"The plants are either in water that's trickling by or running by all the time or they are in pots like our tomato plants are with perlite in them, said Delker. "Perlite simply serves to give something for the plants to hold on to and of course the irrigated water that comes in there about 8 times a day." 

The people in the community are happy the vegetables are available this time of year.

"We loved it. We bought lots of stuff, what ever they had. We've thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the tomatoes this time of year because you can't buy good ones at the store very well," said customer Eloise Rains. 

Besides the hydroponic organic growing, what makes this farm really different is that they operate on the honor system.  They set out the tomatoes in a little shop near the road and the customers simply put the money in a locked box and take their vegetables.

"It's worked out very well. We do lose some money. There's no doubt about that, but I would say 95 to 99 percent of our customers are honest," Barbara Delker said. 

No matter the system, customers are willing to drive the extra mile for the goods.

If you would like to learn more about the Garden Valley Farm click here.

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