GLADE SPRING, Va. — A Glade Spring farmer is continuing to market his fresh produce long after other growers have hung it up for the season.
Dylan House and his wife, Denita House, operate Creative Seeds Farm, a business that sprouted in their backyard in spring 2018, offering a variety of certified, naturally grown lettuces and salad mixes.
His fall and winter produce is grown and protected in hoop houses, allowing him to harvest the fresh crops throughout the cold seasons.
“White snow on the outside and green veggies on the inside. There’s something extremely gratifying about eating freshly harvested greens when the snow starts flying,” said Dylan.
Now that the local farmers market is closed for the season, the couple said they will continue to sell their cold-weather crops at the farm at 422 W. Glade St.
Open 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, the farm stand will offer lettuce, spinach, kale, heirloom collards greens, mustard greens and radishes as they become available during the winter. Dylan said customers need to check their Creative Seeds Farm posts on Facebook to learn what crops are currently available.
“We think a delicious, locally grown salad is the perfect way to start off your Thanksgiving meal. We’ll be open on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, to fill orders.”
Dylan said his vision is to eventually collaborate with other cold-weather growers who have produce to sell when the farmers market is not open.
“This will give people in the community access to our food year round.”
Passionate about providing people with healthy food alternatives, the growers insist on growing produce organically, without the use of pesticides.
“We’ve got a saying around here that says we would never sell anything we wouldn’t want our own kids to eat,” said Dylan.
“Look at all the food scares we’re seeing now. Romaine lettuce has been reported to be unsafe to eat. The romaine lettuce I grow for spring has never been touched with a pesticide.
“There are benefits to food that is locally grown. Not only is it healthier, it’s nutritionally dense,” he said.
The grower’s secret to making the most of a small plot of land is to practice intensive growing.
“I’m always planning ahead and making sure I have another crop on the way.”
He’s also learning there are a lot of benefits to being a year round farmer.
“There’s less heat, less weed pressure, less water is needed. And there’s less competition — not everyone grows year round.”
The grower said his cold-weather crops do well in the hoop houses and require little to no supplemental heating and lighting unless temperatures drop drastically.
“I can put row covers over the crops if it gets really cold. We generally don’t have extremely cold temperatures that last a long time,” he said.
“The sun warms the crops, as well. That’s one of the tricks to winter growing. We can keep them warm, but it’s the sunlight that helps them grow.”
The couple will continue to be regular vendors at the Glade Spring Farmers Market when it opens in the spring.
They also offer subscription services in the spring and summer, allowing customers to receive boxes of prewashed and prebagged varieties of lettuce each week.
Dylan and Denita House can be contacted at 276-698-5947.