Michigan Fresh from the hoophouse

Hoophouses are in production all across the state to provide local produce to hungry customers this spring.

There is no doubt about it; spring is in the air in the lower peninsula of Michigan. Sorry to our U.P. friends you may have to wait a few weeks for the snow to melt. With the arrival of spring, many people feel the need to start cleaning up the garden, get some seeds started and plant some peas and onions. If you are the proud owner of a hoophouse, a.k.a. an unheated, metal tunnel structure covered in plastic for the purposes of growing plants in the ground for a longer season, you may have done these chores a month ago. 

Spinach, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, and even okra and eggplant can be grown in a hoophouse. For more information about hoophouse production resources, visit Penn State Extension’s website at and search for their “High Tunnel Manual.” MSU’s North Farm is a great resource for U.P. farmers interested in hoophouses and season extension. 

What is so great about hoophouses is that we will have tomatoes and other summer produce in our local farmers markets earlier than usual – even in the U.P. A list of products available during the “extended season” is available online. 

More fresh produce means more opportunities for us to eat healthier and support local farmers. One great way to make the most of fresh fruits and vegetables is to can and freeze them. Michigan State University Extension’s Michigan Fresh fact sheets provide information on how to safely preserve fresh foods. They are available for free online

If you are active on social media, you can also find some great Michigan Fresh recipes on Pinterest, Facebook and photos on Instagram. Just search for Michigan Fresh. Feel free to post us a note if you have any recipes or photos you would like to share. We love to hear from people who enjoy farmers markets and local produce as much as we do. 

For more information about Michigan State University Extension programs and resources, visit us online or call our toll free number at 1-888-678-3464.

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