Finding the right fit

Departments - Editor’s Letter

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January 31, 2021

Following in the footsteps of the family business comes naturally to a lot of growers. Whether it’s taking over the family business, branching off into a similar business or working at their parents’ operation, careers in horticulture often begin at home.

While John McMahon had a background in agriculture from working on the family farm, he entered the corporate world, yet whenever lost his love of horticulture. Now, as owner of Schuyler Greens in Virginia, he’s following his own path as the owner of his own CEA operation.

Listening to the market demands, he found a great niche for his products with restaurants, grocery stores, and even direct-to-consumer delivery. And he’s doing it in a way that makes him proud of his products. The drive and ambition to start out on his own led him to create an operation that uses 40% less water and far fewer pesticides and herbicides than traditional farming. And by automating, he’s finding ways to grow even more for the market.

He’s even partnered with other local food producers to offer their products along with his own. And the innovation, both in tech at his own operation and in partnerships and marketing, have made his operation a success.

You can read more about how McMahon found the right tech, the right crops and the right local food partners here.

As the CEA market continues to expand and innovate, it will be interesting to see what types of backgrounds new CEA owners come from and what new ideas they bring as they change the way we think about where our produce comes from.

Kate Spirgen, Editor | kspirgen@gie.net | 216-393-0277