Understandably so: the opportunities for season extension and winter production can aide in the transition from a consumer culture that's used to a plentiful variety of produce whenever they visit the supermarket to a more localized diet more of the time. High tunnels can help producers meet consumer demand over a longer period of time, increasing the economic viability of the enterprise and encouraging customer loyalty throughout the year. They also afford the opportunity to produce crops that otherwise might not survive local conditions, such as ginger or certain citrus fruits.
Sounds like a magic bullet, which should be a cue to all level-headed citizens to consider them with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Nerd Alert! I'm a fan of data: collecting it, compiling it, and synthesizing it. And that's how my relationship with the high tunnel here at Taproot began.
Since I arrived here I've begun monitoring soil temperature, soil moisture, ambient temperature and relative humidity in Li'l Georgia (so-called because of it's similarities to my native growing season) to get a firmer grasp of the utility of the space. I've learned a few things so far that seem worthy of sharing.
I learned a lot about cold-weather production in high tunnels at the West Virginia Small Farms Conference this year, and I'm totally stoked to use this resource to the fullest: focusing on crops that really like the heat in the summer and shifting to crops for winter harvest later in the season.
So while my mind isn't totally made up on the subject, I recognize that high tunnels can potentially be of great service to us. Give me a few more years of experience with these guys recording the data, weighing the harvest & tabulating profitability and I'll probably be able to make up my mind. Till then, hope y'all get to enjoy some of these early veggies!