By Gina Smith
November 27, 2012
Who would have thought in Lincoln County there is a produce operation that attracts the likes of Whole Foods and MGM Grand? ?That is the case with Blue Lizard Farm.
This ever-expanding and evolving operation was started in 2009 by Rodney and Christine Mehring. They run six hoop houses to date, with two under construction and 13 more planned. ?A hoop house is a tent-like structure, covered in high-tech plastic that creates the perfect environment for crops to grow all year, even during winter months. ? The Mehrings are also building a wash room with a capacity to wash 1,000 pounds of produce per hour.
Blue Lizard Farm adheres to strict food handling standards to attract companies like Whole Foods, which uses standards set by California Leafy Greens Products. ?Following these standards makes food handling as safe as possible and will ensure the farm is able to sell to other vendors and chefs that desire high-quality, organic produce.
The operation grows spinach, head lettuce, radishes, bok choy, winter squash and many other varieties of vegetables. Hoop houses are strictly monitored for temperature. The sides can be rolled up and let down to regulate the environment.
The produce is pesticide-free, and the Mehrings are so strict on quality, that they do not let their product travel more than 300 miles away from the farm.
Blue Lizard Farm does bee production as well. To date, they have 50-60 colonies of bees, producing high-quality honey.
This operation has been assisted by Cooperative Extension Services through Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans. ?FSA traditionally handles farm loans that deal with animals, so this loan is attracting the attention of chefs, restaurants and buyers, as well as local and state government officials. Imagine the possibilities this kind of operation opens up to aid in other produce farms state and nationwide.
The Mehrings encourage people to ?eat more vegetables!? They sell locally to the weekly farmers market in Caliente and Pioche.
Blue Lizard Farm is on Facebook and have an open house slated for February.