Bay Produce began when Challenge Center built its first half acre greenhouse in 1986 as an employment and training platform for our clients with disabilities. It grew beefsteak tomatoes using a semi-hydroponic process. Based on its success, a full acre greenhouse was built in 1996 which allowed for increased, year-round production and work for our participants.
In looking for a product that would compliment and not compete with our beefsteak tomatoes, we experimented with grape tomatoes in 2003. Market demand significantly exceeded our limited supply, so the production area was expanded into the ½ acre greenhouse.
Again in 2008, and based on customer interest, we began growing red, yellow and orange bell peppers in the remaining 4,000 sq. ft. of the older greenhouse. Both the peppers and the grape tomatoes are single season crops, with production from April through November.
Bay Produce is locally grown and distributed, reducing the transportation impact. Because of this, the produce is vine ripened. This allows the entire fruit to ripen and results in the garden fresh taste loved throughout the region.
Vine ripened, greenhouse grown products of Bay Produce are sold through local grocery stores in Superior, Duluth, Two Harbors, Grand Rapids and Cloquet. Local wholesalers purchase our products and take them outside of our direct sales area and market them primarily to restaurants. Bay Produce Products available year round are Beefsteak Tomatoes.
Debra Gergen, Work Services Director