Grant Award: $6,000—Romaine Lettuce Expansion
Bill is expanding the production of an uncommon romaine, Kalura, which is outstanding in all attributes—size, rapid growth, heat tolerance and shelf life. He is also growing another variety of lettuce, Paris Island, which, while more common, can be grown easily and is readably marketable.
The cost of producing Kalura is significant, but the high returns and the lengthy season make up for it. It is cold hearty, easily enduring temperatures in the low 20s and even lower in the hoophouse with a covering of spunbond. Bill has discovered a high demand from individual customers and restaurants. “A forty-ounce head of Romaine is breathtaking,” he said
With the grant, Bill is expanding his existing hoophouse by another 100 feet, extending water and electric lines, and installing fans and shade cloth.
Bill sells a variety of high value vegetables, small fruits and melons at local tailgate markets. Kay Farm, in East Flat Rock, was founded by Bill’s maternal grandfather Vernon Kay in 1935. See www.buyappalachian.org/listing/kay-farm.