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Meet the Producers Part II – Shirley’s Greenhouse

Those in the Didsbury area have choice when it comes to fresh, local farm produce.

Shirley’s Greenhouse is a 36,000 square foot facility that turns out the crunchiest cucumbers, a large variety of tasty tomatoes, succulent bell peppers, soft butter lettuce, and leafy kale. Accompanying the greenhouse is a 28 acre field where an abundance of vegetables thrive. Pesticide-free veggies in the garden include, basil, BIG carrots, and more. Delicious preserves made from the produce are also available and include chow chow, relish, pickles, and salsa.

With the motto of “We guarantee the quality of our product, if you’re not happy we’re not happy,” it’s no wonder that locals and tourists make a point to visit Shirley’s Greenhouse during the summer or visit them at one of the many year-round Farmer’s Markets.

Owner Dawn notes that this season and last season were very busy. The pandemic brought about both renewed focus on local shopping, and renewed focus on living a healthy lifestyle and knowing where your produce is coming form. She’s pleased to offer her pesticide-free products at Farmer’s Markets and directly from the farm (no wholesale selling) to meet the ever-growing demand.

As for the customers, they can taste the difference in Dawn’s growing practices.

“We run a hydroponic operation,” Dawn explains. “We get a water sample, send it away, and when it is analyzed we know exactly what the plants need to grow.”

What they need is not synthetic pesticide, insecticide or fungicide. In fact, Dawn knows all to well the danger non-organic compounds like these can cause. A couple years ago she lost a tomato crop to a herbicide that ran off into their water system. Today, the farm uses charcoal filters to help maintain the water, uses elemental fertilizer, and leverages Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Dawn explains, “IPM – this is an approach to pest management designed to manage insect and disease pests. We always use ‘good’ bugs as a first response (they eat the harmful bugs) and certified organic plant management compounds as a last resort.”

For fresh, local, healthy, produce from a farm providing great working conditions from more than 20 labourers and a team passionate about the best garden farming practices, visit Shirley’s Greenhouse today. You can order online or find them at one of many Farmer’s Markets in the region. Take a peek at what life is like on the farm on their gallery, and call or email if you have questions for the farm.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Shirley's Greenhouse for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.