North-Dakota man grows lettuce year round

If you’ve gone outside in the past few weeks, you know just how frigid North Dakota winters can be. But, one gardener grows and sells lettuce, squash, and gourds year-round, despite cold temperatures.

Some people have a green thumb and know how to balance sunlight, soil, and water conditions to raise healthy plants. Then there are those who change the rules completely in an act of innovation. Larry Schumacker, owner, and operator of Larry’s Hydro Lettuce falls into the latter category.

Schumacker is a lifetime gardener. After growing up on a farm, he says he was made to grow things. “It’s always been in my blood, I guess you could say,” said Schumacker. Larry grows lettuce year-round using a process called hydroponics, which uses a solution of water and nutrients instead of soil. He sells most of what he grows to local grocers, but he doesn’t sell all of it.

“Yeah I try to sell what I can, but there’s always extra. So, I give back to the Great Plains Food Bank,” he said. Larry estimates he has donated more than 200,000 pounds of food in the past ten years. In 2016, he was honored by the Great Plains Food Bank as the 2016 Hunger Relief Champion. “It’s just a good feeling. As I said, it’s the North Dakota way. Give back,” he said.

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