It was all the way back in 1990 when Donald Layser from Layser’s Plants and Flowers in Myerstown Pennsylvania wanted to protect his outdoor spring crops from the frost and rain. The retractable flat roof houses had already been in operation for 8 years but they were not capable of keeping rain off the plants. This led to very first greenhouse in the world where the roof could completely open and close and which could shed rain to a gutter system.
Fast forward 30 years and this house is still in operation and Cravo houses have now been installed around the world. The retractable roof houses have evolved into 4 different models which function either as retractable greenhouses for colder climates or retractable cooling houses for warmer climates.
From simple protection from cold, heat, wind, rain and hail, the retractable roof houses climate control options have expanded based on what growers wanted complete growing systems including retractable interior curtain systems for additional cooling, heat retention, insect control and blackout for day length control. Growers of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, herbs, lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, avocado, trees for reforestation, cut flowers, potted plants, young plants, perennials, and cannabis are all now using the best of nature and a protected environment to improve their quality, extend their growing season and reduce the cost of production.
"Beyond creating better environment for plants, Cravo retractable roof houses have even helped create better environments for people at waterparks, for livestock and dogs," says Richard Vollebregt, President of Cravo.
"Not only have the retractable roof houses stood the test of time, they have also withstood the test of 16 hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons without loosing a roof…. or a house!" he adds.
"We owe a great deal of thanks and gratitude to our customers (both the early and late adopters) who wanted to solve their crop production challenges and were willing to think out of the box to take new and innovative approaches to growing their crops. Of course, this progress would also not be possible without our dedicated team at Cravo who have help create these industry leading designs of structures, drive system, roof covering designs and control strategies. Our deepest thanks and appreciation to each of you who played a role, past and present," says Vollebregt.
"Over the next 30 years, it will be exciting to see how growers will continue to innovate as they refine their production practices to take full advantage of the best of nature, protection and climate optimization," he concludes.