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Made in the Midwest: Bushel Boy

Updated: 11/07/2013 4:01 AM
Created: 11/06/2013 6:54 PM KSTP.com
By: Kenny King

(ABC 6 NEWS ) - Bushel Boy farms in Owatonna – a handful of greenhouses, growing tomatoes. They grow a couple different varieties. The big tomatoes are called, “beefsteak.” A smaller cluster of tomatoes, still on the vine, are called, “Vine.”

“We try to do everything for quality. We could very easily grow more production if we gave up flavor, but everything we do is for the quality, and for the customer,” Bushel Boy’s first employee, Steve Amundson said.

You wouldn’t typically see beautiful, ripe tomatoes all year long in Minnesota because of our harsh winters, but at Bushel Boy, their high-tech greenhouse technology and growing expertise allow the company’s tomatoes to grow all year long.

“We built [the greenhouses] over multiple years, as demand has grown. We try to have the best skin, the freshest quality, and everything we do here is specifically to grow the best tomato.

And Bushel Boy uses an unlikely helper.

“The bumblebees know exactly when the flower is ready and when the pollen is ready to be released. If we didn’t use the bees, we would have to do it by hand which would be a lot of labor, and you don’t get it done at the right time.”

You don’t have to travel too far to enjoy the literal fruits of their labor.

“Being a central location we have the ability to get produce to the store very quickly. Most of the time our tomatoes are in the grocery store the day after we pick them.”

“We are specifically in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but we do have stores in Mankato and Rochester.”

Bushel Boy is also sold in some grocery stores in Austin, Albert Lea, and is working on expanding into more stores in Des Moines, Iowa and surrounding areas.