Mike Phelan, owner and operator of Beaver Creek Produce in Berkley, was the guest speaker at a recent meeting of the Perry Lions Club. Phlean’s company grows vegetables hydroponically in a 12,600 square foot greenhouse.
The main crop at Beaver Creek Produce is butter head and green leaf lettuce, but Phelan and his brother, Tim Phelan, also grow basil, beefsteak tomatoes and some herbs.
The greenhouse has been in operation for a year and is off to a good start, Phelan said. He sells and delivers his produce to 22 Hy-Vee stores in the area.
The greenhouse is made of a two-layer polycarbonate material. It has sub-floor heating and a year-round climate control system.
The green house uses 2,000 gallons of water per month for growing the vegetables. The water is electronically monitored for correct chemical properties.
When he was growing cucumbers, Phelan had to order a special type of bumble bee to pollinate the crop, and he uses ladybug beetles to control aphids.
Phelan said he is proud the produce is locally grown, and his butter head lettuce has a better flavor and a longer shelf life than common iceberg lettuce.