Village Farms
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Village Farms held their Open House Event on Thursday, May 17, 2012.  Three hundred guests were invited to tour the greenhouse from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.  Chamber Director Teresa Burnett, Alexis Swenson and Tracey Smith served lemonade and cookies after the tour.  The Monahans Ambassadors were on hand to help park cars.

Employees of Village Farms took small groups though the facility, talked about the greenhouse and predominantly the tomatoes.  Before entering the greenhouse, guests were asked to put on protective suits and shoes to protect the tomatoes.  The greenhouse covers 30 acres and will produce 248,000 tomato plants.  The greenhouse will produce 40 times more tomatoes than a field crop would produce.  In the future, Village Farms hopes to increase the greenhouse to a total of 120 acres.

The greenhouse in Monahans produces tomatoes on the vine.  Each plant grows 11 feet tall.  Each vine is pruned to have 5 tomatoes per vine to insure the tomatoes size and coloring are the same.  The employees of Village Farms pick about 400 tons of tomatoes a day.  The greenhouse uses a RO system on the water before watering the plants.  The greenhouse also reclaims 1/3 of the water they use and they do not disturb the soil.  There are no pesticides or chemicals used on their tomato plants.

James Coldeway sang the Star Spangled Banner to open the ceremony at 2:00 PM.  Pastor Jeppie Wilson gave the invocation.  Michael DeGiglio, President and CEO Village Farms, welcomed the crowd and thanked everyone that helped make Village Farms in Monahans possible including his staff.  He also welcomed his employees to his family. Mr. DeGiglio said, "This greenhouse is the most advanced producer of food, today.  We have been asked to grow many other types of food in the future.  Hopefully we will get there.  We have had labor challenges, but the bees work seven days a week," joked Michael.  Village Farms has been operating in Texas for 20 years.  Village Farms produces 90% of Texas' tomatoes.  Michael stated, "Texas is very dear to our organization.  We are proud of our facility.  If you would like to give a gift to Village Farms, buy our tomatoes.  If your produce section does not have them, ask the produce manager why not?"

Mr. DeGiglio introduced, Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner, Todd Staples to the attendees.  Commissioner Staples said, "Today is a great example of how good things happen in Texas.  When good agriculture happens, the consumer profits.  We are excited about having Village Farms in Texas.  In the next 4-5 decades, the population will double.  The answer to the challenge of meeting the food requirements of the future is met in Monahans.  We are grateful to have Village Farms as a partner in Texas."

A reception was held from 3:30-6:00 PM at the Ward County Coliseum.  Fermin's Restaurant catered the event and Through the pages Book & Candy Store provided the desserts.  L.A. Grafix by Lorrie Andrews were the center pieces for the tables.  Lola McLain played the piano during the event.  She played Happy Birthday to honor Brandon Inman on his birthday.  The ladies of the Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce helped serve during the reception.  Parker May, of Mission Possible, cleaned up after the event.

Ben Jacobson's (our tour guide) tip of the day?  Never refrigerate your tomatoes because they lose flavor and age faster.

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