CAMARILLO, Calif. – Not every produce facility open house attracts the likes of the secretary of California’s Department of Food and Agriculture or The Netherlands ambassador to the U.S., but the Delta, British Columbia-based Houweling Nurseries newly expanded greenhouse is not your typical produce facility.

Opening of Houweling Nurseries greenhouse draws VIPs
                                                          Tom Burfield


A.G. Kawamura, California agriculture secretary, on May 14 congratulates Houweling Nurseries on the opening of its $50 million greenhouse in Camarillo, Calif.

The state-of-the-art system grows more than 40 acres of tomatoes under glass and under maximum food safety conditions in a sustainable environment that the company says “maximizes productivity, generates green/renewable energy, radically minimizes water consumption, recycles nutrients, allows no environmental runoff and generates over 450 full-time, year-round jobs.”

On hand for the official open house May 14 were A.G. Kawamura, California’s

agriculture secretary; Renee Jones-Bos, the Dutch ambassador; a representative of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; John Anderson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, which markets most of the facility’s product; and representatives of various partner firms that helped design and build the $50-million facility.

As he thanked his employees and business partners for their roles in developing the facility, Casey Houweling, president of Houweling Nurseries, touted the greenhouse as “the future of sustainable agriculture.”

Kawamura said it encompassed the “three E’s” of sustainability – economy, environment and social equity – and said it’s this type of sustainable agriculture that will help feed the world.

Opening of Houweling Nurseries greenhouse draws VIPs

                                                          Tom Burfield 

Casey Houweling, president of Delta, British Columbia-based Houweling Nurseries, welcomes guests May 14 to the official open house for the company’s new greenhouse system, which Houweling calls the “the future of sustainable agriculture.”

Anderson lauded Houweling for his “meticulous growing methods” and said the facility represented “new levels of quality and sustainability.”

And Karen Kukurin, deputy director of the office of the governor, relayed Schwarzenegger’s support for Houweling’s effort because, among other things, the facility reduces water usage by 66% at a time when the state is undergoing a severe drought.

Houweling’s existing Camarillo greenhouse produces 5 million cartons of tomatoes annually, and with the expansion, that figure is expected to increase by one-third.