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US: New England hydroponic tomatoes: the statsGrowers in Main are already responding to scientists' concerns over the stress the world's growing population outs on farmland. They are growing their tomatoes hydroponically.
The largest producer in New England, Maine based Backyard Farms, delivers tomatoes to stores only hours after they come off the vine and say they are making profit from the venture.
In 2011 the revenue of the hydroponic farming industry was $544 million, and have been experiencing a growth rate of 7.8% annually. However, hydroponic vegetables still only account for less than 1% of total produce on the market.
Each hydroponic tomato plants produces around 26 pounds of produce. Backyard Farms, for example, yield 30 times more crop by growing hydroponically than by conventional methods.
The potential drawback is the cost - a hydroponically grown tomato costs 50 cents more than one grown traditionally. There are hopes that LED lighting may one day help to minimise energy use and therefore reduce prices.
Publication date: 2/28/2012
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