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Houweling's Tomatoes hoping for spring construction start

Engineering work is wrapping up on the planned commercial greenhouse project at Spiritwood, North Dakota.

Houweling's Tomatoes
This photo shows a Houweling greenhouse in Utah in operation. Construction could start next spring on a similar greenhouse operation at the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park. Contributed / Houweling's Tomatoes

JAMESTOWN, North Dakota — Engineering work is continuing on the planned greenhouse project at the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park, according to Casey Houweling, owner of Houweling's Tomatoes.

"We are waiting on data from engineering staff to finalize the energy plan," he said. "Once we have that we can complete the budgeting and product line."

Plans announced in August 2020 called for the construction of a commercial greenhouse operation with about 30 acres under glass. A second phase of the project could double the size of the operation.

The greenhouse would produce tomatoes and other fresh vegetables for distribution across the Upper Midwest.

The facility's anticipated production was about seven semi loads of produce leaving the greenhouse every day, and it was expected to employ about 100 people, according to information released at the time of the project announcement.

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Corry Shevlin, business development manager for the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp., said engineering work was continuing on what he called a "fairly complex system." The system would utilize waste heat and carbon dioxide from Dakota Spirit AgEnergy, a corn-based fuel ethanol facility also located at the SEPA industrial park.

The planned greenhouse would be located directly south of Dakota Spirit AgEnergy on land currently farmed but owned by the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.

"They are working out how to best utilize the heat and CO2 from Dakota Spirit," Shevlin said. "It all looks promising."

Shevlin said the report could be finalized as early as in the next two weeks.

Houweling said he did not believe the coronavirus pandemic had delayed the engineering report. He anticipates establishing construction and operating budgets when the report is finalized and making final decisions at that point.

"Hope to start construction at spring thawing," he said.

Houweling's Tomatoes operates greenhouses in the United States and Canada and has approximately 150 acres under glass at three locations.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURENORTH DAKOTA
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