We're Glad You Asked!
Does Backyard Farms offer tours of the greenhouse?
For the safety of our customers as well as our plants, we do not offer tours of our greenhouse to the public. The Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) we follow at Backyard Farms make entering the greenhouse a lot like entering a hospital operating room. All guests are required to wear a disposable lab coat and foot coverings to ensure no outside contaminants are carried into the greenhouse. On top of these protocols, the greenhouse is a very busy place with a steady flow of trolleys transporting plant trimmings as well as fruit boxes to and from the rows. As much as we’d love to give our customers a firsthand look at how we grow fresh tomatoes year-round, tours just aren’t practical but we have some great behind-the-scenes videos on our YouTube channel.
Are Backyard Farms tomatoes organic?
In order to be classified as organic, a fruit or vegetable must be grown in soil. Because we grow our tomatoes hydroponically, they cannot be classified as organic.
What does “hydroponic” mean?
Hydroponic is the term used to describe “the soilless growth of plants.” Instead of dirt, we grow our plants in a substance called rock wool which is a mixture of basalt rock and chalk. Rock wool looks like cotton candy and is dense enough to keep the roots constantly hydrated, yet porous enough to allow the root system to grow and spread. The biggest advantage of hydroponic growing is the efficient use of our most precious resource – water. Thanks to the gutter system on the roof of our 42 acre greenhouse and our on-site 10 million gallon retention pond, 98% of the water we use to irrigate and feed our tomato plants comes from the natural environment.
Are Backyard Farms tomatoes genetically modified?
No. In fact, we are verified by the non-GMO project.
Where is Madison, ME?
Madison is a small town in Somerset County, Maine, located 2 hours north of Portland and an hour west of Bangor.
Why did you build your greenhouse in the middle of Maine?
It costs less to heat a greenhouse than it does to cool a greenhouse. This fact combined with the steady amount of year-round precipitation we get in the Kennebec Valley makes Madison, Maine an ideal location for a greenhouse. Best of all, the land we built the greenhouse on used to be a potato farm so it required a minimal amount of site prep and Madison is a short drive from Skowhegan and Waterville where many of our employees live.
How does Backyard Farms produce such perfect looking tomatoes?
Growing in a climate controlled greenhouse with no hard frosts, no temperature fluctuations and consistent irrigation helps, but the main reason why Backyard Farms tomatoes are so consistently red, juicy and beautiful is our unwavering commitment to quality. We only ship #1 quality fruit to our retail and wholesale customers. If it doesn’t look perfect, it will not go to your favorite store. Tomatoes that are odd-shaped or have minor blemishes but are still excellent go to food service customers who turn them into sauces and salsas. Anything else is turned into compost.
What do you feed your plants?
Our head grower is constantly adjusting the mix of calcium, potassium, phosphorous and nitrates to match the seasonal needs of the plants.
Does Backyard Farms use pesticides?
While greenhouse growing enables us to maintain ideal growing conditions, the same insects that attack your backyard garden find their way into our greenhouse, too. In order to protect the 30,000 bumblebees that pollinate our plants, we employ an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. Roughly translated, we maintain populations of “good bugs” in the greenhouse to eat the “bad bugs” that find their way inside. This system is very effective but sometimes, the bad bugs force us to be more aggressive. When that happens, we spot-treat our plants with pesticides approved by the Whole Foods’ responsibly grown rating system.
Where can I buy Backyard Farms tomatoes?
You’ll find Backyard Farms tomatoes in supermarkets and independent food stores from Maine to New Jersey. Because we only ship to stores that can get our products from the vine to the shelf within 48 hours, our distribution is limited to the northeast. CLICK HERE for a list of all stores where you can find our tomatoes.
Does Backyard Farms offer home delivery?
Backyard Farms does not offer home delivery at this time.
How many people work at the greenhouse?
We have 240 full-time employees working for us year-round in the areas of crop care, picking, packing, maintenance and office administration. CLICK HERE to see current job opportunities.
Can I buy seeds to grow my own Backyard Farms tomatoes?
No, we only sell tomatoes and the companies we purchase our seeds from specialize in commercial growers like us.
Still have questions? CLICK HERE to send us an email!