Bux-Mont Hydroponics is located in Telford, PA on a family farm. “One of the rewards of all the hard work is being able to raise a family on a farm. It is a great opportunity to work together,” says owner Tim Gehman. Bux-Mont supplies our six Kimberton Whole Foods stores with beautiful, fresh lettuce all year long. We recently had the chance to catch up with Tim to learn more about his operation.
How did you get started in hydroponic growing?
My dad started growing in greenhouses in 1979. I started growing lettuce in a corner of one of his greenhouses on a small scale in 2005. I experimented and learned. I started with a green thumb having grown up in the family flower business. We built our first lettuce greenhouse and started growing lettuce in it in 2009. Our business has been growing ever since.
We bought the Bux-Mont Hydroponic greenhouse business in 2011. We took down the greenhouses and reassembled them here on our property. We also became GAP certified (which is a measure of our food safety) several years ago, and we are always working on food safety. We do not grow any GMO crops.
How large is your operation?
Our hydroponic greenhouses now cover a little over one-half acre.
What does it mean to grow vegetables hydroponically?
Our lettuce grows on Styrofoam which floats on huge ponds of water. The plants grow in a small peat cube with the roots down in the water. The water stays cool in our hot summers. The lettuce is always planted at one end of the greenhouse and harvested at the other. The rafts float along as on a conveyor belt. It is pushed down the greenhouse as it grows.
The plants pick up the nutrients they need through the roots which hang in the water. Our fertilizers come mined from the ground and are totally clean from bacteria and viruses. We do not use any manure as organic farming does. Hence, it is a very clean product. Our basil grows in troughs with a trickle of water running through them 24 hours a day, so the water is constantly recirculated.
We are committed to growing safe, nutritious local food.
In what ways does hydroponic growing work well?
I would like to outline how our hydroponic operation is sustainable: We collect the rainwater off the greenhouse roofs and use it to grow our crops. We also heat our lettuce greenhouses with a huge wood burner. It is very clean burning, is carbon dioxide neutral, and is a renewable resource. We use scrap wood from the building industry.
We compost our crop waste on our property and reuse our nutrient water. We test our fertilizer water to ensure all the nutrients are available for the plants and there is no runoff of nutrients. Our packaging is recyclable. We use very little (almost no) pesticides. The greenhouses have the incoming air screened to keep out the bugs. If some bugs get in we use “good bugs” that go after the “bad bugs” and attack them. We provide all the essentials but hope God makes the sunshine. Sunshine can be lacking in the winter, so we do use some lights as needed to ensure that the shelves stay full 52 weeks a year at the grocery store.
What challenges do you face in your business?
The biggest challenge we face is the weather. We need to adjust our nutrients and our growing practices according to the changing weather. We try to have the products look the same on the shelf year round.
Are there any disadvantages to hydroponic growing?
The only disadvantage in hydroponic growing is the capital cost of greenhouses and equipment. Field lettuce may be much cheaper in late spring, but it is only usually available for a very short several weeks locally – plus, our summers often get too hot and dry for field lettuce in PA.
What else should the public understand about hydroponic growing?
While we grow a local product, it is interesting to realize how our equipment and seeds come from all over the world. From Holland to Canada, from Israel to New Zealand, it takes a whole world of resources to grow a head of local lettuce or bunch of basil.
What’s your favorite way to use the Butter Crunch Lettuce?
Our favorite way to use the butterhead lettuce is in sandwiches. You can also make your wraps with meat and cheese rolled up with lettuce leaves.
We are pleased to support the business and mission of this local grower. Look for their Butter Crunch Lettuce on the shelves of your local KWF produce department!
Photos courtesy of Bux Mont Hydroponics.
13 thoughts on “Bux-Mont Hydroponics, Telford, PA – 28 Miles”
You Lost Me At Styrofoam. Styrofoam is Made From Oil AND Not Good For AnyONE.
Hello Alexandra, Thank you for reaching out! We appreciate that you took the time to learn about one of our local producers. Tim uses styrofoam because it is necessary to the success of his operation – it is both affordable and light enough to float. The styrofoam he uses is washed and reused indefinitely. He is not aware at this time of another material which would allow him to grow his lettuces this way. Thank you again for connecting with us. -Emily at KWF
I would personally like to thank you for providing us in the Buxmont area with a safe sustainable crop of hydroponic lettuce. I don’t think people realize the benefits of hydroponics and the future of our crops will be hydroponics or maybe even aeroponics which is a promising new way to grow crops. Good luck and Thank you
Thanks for reading, Paul! We appreciate your feedback.
The butter crunch lettuce tastes great. First time I remember seeing greenhouse lettuce was at DisneyWorld years ago at Epcot and I’m thankful we now have it locally grown.
Thanks for your feedback, Ed!
Love your lettuce. Probably eat it 3 times a week at dinner. We had a discussion about it last night and one question came up…is it prewashed?
Thank you for reaching out. The lettuce is not pre-washed. Have a great day!
Great..thank you! Also, my friend and I are starting to plant lettuce and find your system so interesting. Is there any way the 2 of us can come to your facility and check it out. I have 4 4×8 beds at this point of various veggies including 2 varieties of lettuce. We eat your lettuce 4 days a week…love it! Thank you! Sonia
Hello Sonia, Tim will be reaching out to you directly. Thank you!
I am local to most of your facilities, currently
I supply maintenance services such as machine shop work for food processing. I have been contacted and have worked for other Hydroponic Farms with maintenance of their Harvesting Systems. Please let me know if you have interest and we could set up a call to discuss, around 15 minutes to convey what I can do to assist your harvest production.
Thank you, Jeff! We have shared your note with Tim of Bux-Mont Hydroponics.
I’ve written to Bux-Mont before about how much I love their Bib/Boston-style lettuce. The lettuce lasts a long time in the fridge. I put a small piece of paper towel around the root and add water to the reservoir. I tell customers all the time about the quality of this lettuce. How tender and delicious it is. I would like to encourage the company to either put the scan-code on the bottom ( instead of the top) or add another price label on the bottom. When you turn over the plastic package of lettuce (to scan the price at KWF), the dirt in the root sometimes gets on the lettuce. It would be very helpful. Thanks from a grateful customer. MaryAnn Neblock…Huge fan of KWF!