ND man grows lettuce year round

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:44 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - 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. Like I said, it’s the North Dakota way. Give back,” he said.

As for what’s next for Larry and his lettuce?

“No doubt in my mind this is a forever thing. I’ve got plans, bigger plans,” he said.

Larry’s hoping to expand production and his operation in the coming years, an expansion which he hopes will yield tomatoes and cucumbers.

Larry’s Hydro Lettuce can be found at the Bisman Community Food Co-op, and at various local grocers around North and South Dakota.

For more information about Larry’s Hydro Lettuce, visit hydrolettuce.com.

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