Think differently

Departments - Editor’s Letter

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February 22, 2019

When I started listening to podcasts during my traffic-filled commutes, road trips and on long plane rides, my travel experience was greatly improved. I enjoy a wide variety of podcasts, but one that boasts that it’s “designed for the curious mind with a short attention span” is among my favorites. It’s called “The Way I Heard It,” and is hosted by Mike Rowe, formerly of the TV show “Dirty Jobs.”

Now, this is truly a podcast for short attention spans. Each episode clocks in at about 10 minutes or shorter, and all of the stories are written by Rowe. He crafts a creative and intentionally vague narrative about people, places and things that perhaps we would recognize under normal circumstances, if not for the way that he spins the tale. He tells the story from a different perspective, or includes details that most people have never heard, so it’s not easy to figure it out. As I listen, I try to guess who or what he’s referring to, and enjoy the intrigue. He’s taking normal, everyday stories and approaching them in a new way.

As greenhouse business owners and managers, oftentimes you’re faced with the same situations, problems or opportunities time and time again. But, if you can find a different way to spin the story, so to speak, oftentimes you’ll achieve a new level of success or encounter an improved solution to the problem.

Looking at the situation from a new perspective has helped drive the success of our cover story subject — Paal Elfstrum and his hydroponic lettuce and hemp greenhouse operation, Wheatfield Gardens. Originally built to house vining crops and to be heated by waste steam from a nearby power plant, the greenhouse had been vacant for a few years before Elfstrum and an investor team purchased it. Upon determining that vine crops weren’t the best choice for the greenhouse, Elfstrum switched gears and began producing lettuce and seasonal hemp.

Along the way, Elfstrum began incorporating advanced technology and sustainable methods and systems into the greenhouses, and developed research partnerships to advance the controlled environment agriculture industry. Today, the greenhouse harvests 4,000 to 5,000 heads of lettuce daily, and is continually evolving and improving its processes and efficiencies. Learn more about Wheatfield Gardens and Elfstrum’s path into hydroponic growing. Who knows — it might inspire you to find a different way to tell your greenhouse “story.”

kvarga@gie.net | (216) 393-0290
Twitter: @Karen_GIE