Have you ever picked up a piece of produce at the grocery store—say, a bell pepper, as I did recently—and noticed that it was grown in someplace you didn’t expect? In my case, I found a bell pepper that was grown in Holland (the Netherlands). At first I though this was because the bell pepper was organic, but then I noticed that that conventionally grown peppers beside it were grown in Canada—another place of origin I didn’t expect.
Living in Florida, which produces a large portion of bell peppers produced in the U.S.,1 I don’t usually think of Holland and Canada as being places where bell peppers are grown. So how can someone grow a bell pepper in Holland or Canada where, as you might image, the climate is less than ideal for growing the crop?
It turns out that bell peppers grown in Holland and Canada are grown in greenhouses and exported to the U.S.2 Greenhouses allow growers to create ideal growing conditions for a particular crop.3 Greenhouses keep plants warm enough during the cool season and cool enough during the warm season. Green houses regulate how much sunlight plants get and can even be used to give plants more carbon dioxide, which increases plant growth. They also help control pests by keeping them away from plants and help growers control plant pollination.
In short, greenhouses are a tool for maximizing crop yield and quality.4 In Florida, crops grown in greenhouses include cucumbers, muskmelons, strawberries, tomatoes, and, yes, peppers. 5 I hope I’ll see Florida-grown greenhouse produce at my local grocery store some day soon!
- Mark Mossler, Michael J. Aerts, and O. Norman Nesheim, Florida Crop/Pest Management Profiles: Bell Peppers, CIR1240, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2012, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi040
- Elio Jovicich, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Steven A. Sargent, and Lance S. Osborne, Production of Greenhouse-Grown Peppers in Florida, HS979, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2012, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs228
- R. A. Bucklin, Florida Greenhouse Design, BUL235, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2015, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae016
- G. J. Hochmuth, General Aspects of Plant Growth—Florida Greenhouse Vegetable Production Handbook, Vol. 3, HS784, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2015, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv262
- “Greenhouse Crops,” Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises, n.d., http://smallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu/crops/hydroponics/greenhouse_crops.html