Andrew and Heather Spray are grain farmers in West Salem, Illinois, who have expanded their farm operations to grow lettuce and greens year-round. The Sprays grow lettuce and greens in their 128-by-30 ft greenhouse.

Spray doesn’t eat salads. He said he doesn’t even like to put lettuce on his sandwiches. “For me, to grow it is kind of ironic,” he said. As a business, growing greens has worked out well for the family. The greenhouse has made it possible for Andrew to quit his sales job in town to farm full-time.

The Sprays came up with their produce growing plan in 2015 when Heather read an article about a hydroponic tomato operation in Missouri. She asked Andrew if he wanted to build a greenhouse.

“I’ll be honest, I laughed at her because I thought she was kidding,” Andrew said. But the more they looked into it, the more they liked what they learned. “It was a way for me to supplement the two-row crop farm,” Andrew said.

By early 2016, Joy Lane Produce was up and running. Lining up customers was tough, Spray said, but he knew it would be. Now that Joy Lane Produce is established, the customers call them, Spray said.

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