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by: SUSAN MATHENY/THE PIONEER - Terri Buck harvests lettuce in her new high tower greenhouse at the family farm.Susan Matheny/The Paradise Produce, owned by Terri Buck of Madras, now has fresh, locally grown produce available thanks to a new 30- by 80-foot greenhouse.

Buck already had a smaller greenhouse for starting bedding plants, but said a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service allowed her to build a second “high tunnel” greenhouse.

“It extends the season. I can plant a month and a half earlier and keep growing a month and a half later, so it gives me three to four extra months of growing time,” Buck said.

A big flower and vegetable gardener for her own family, Buck ventured into selling some of her vegetables at the Madras Saturday Market last year, and decided to expand this year.

According to NCRS guidelines, the high tower greenhouse must be all natural, with no artificial heat, and plants must be grown in the ground or in raised beds – just like a garden. Buck said she and her husband, Leroy, put the greenhouse up in January, and she already has 150 tomato plants, 100 pepper plants, plus beets, kale, sugar snap peas, chard, spinach, cilantro, radishes, lettuce, and more growing.

After planting, she said, “It got down to 28 degrees at night, but didn’t affect the plants. The frost just stayed on top of the plastic roof – like when you cover plants to protect them from frost,” she said.

She will have vegetables ready for the Saturday market when it opens June 7, at Sahalee Park in Madras, but is also encouraging customers to come out to the farm now and throughout the summer to buy fresh produce, as well as vegetable bedding plants from the original greenhouse. Plant starts include cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, peppers, broccoli, cabbage and zucchini.

Currently, Buck said she picks, washes and packages all the veggies herself. Eventually, she said, they plan to build a room onto a nearby barn where they will have a sink and a refrigerated unit for a self-serve customer center.

“We will have another whole crop on the north side of the new greenhouse,” Buck said, pointing to a plowed field where she will grow corn, potatoes and green beans. The Bucks also raise chickens and have farm fresh eggs for sale.

The Buck family, which includes daughters Megan and Amanda, own 80 acres, but they farm a total of 500 acres on Agency Plains, growing grass seed, carrot seed and wheat.

Paradise Produce, located about five miles north of Madras at 6651 N. Adams Drive, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Special orders can be called in to 541-350-0468.

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