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Trade Group Seeks Standardization of ‘Greenhouse’

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Citing increased demand for greenhouse-grown produce, the Certified Greenhouse Farmers trade group is looking to standardize the term “greenhouse.”

The trade group, formerly known as the North American Greenhouse Hothouse Vegetables Association, said that greenhouse-grown tomatoes retail for about 40 cents higher than field tomatoes — $2.70 versus $2.31. The group also pointed to Perishables Group data that found 50% of tomatoes sales are labeled as greenhouse grown.

“Unlike certified organic, there is no standard national definition for greenhouse production,” said Ed Beckman, president of Certified Greenhouse Farmers, in a press release. “Consumers and retailers that purchase greenhouse-grown produce should be assured that produce labeled as greenhouse is, in fact, produced in a defined greenhouse. Without such protection, consumers are paying a premium for what is essentially a field-grown product masquerading as greenhouse.”

The group wants the standard definition of greenhouse to be: “A fully enclosed permanent aluminum or steel structure clad in either glass or impermeable plastic for the controlled environment growing of certified greenhouse/hothouse vegetables using together: computerized irrigation and climate control systems, including heating and ventilation capability; a soilless medium that substitutes for soil (under the greenhouse/hothouse); hydroponic methods; and Integrated Pest Management, without the use of herbicides.”

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