Even as ice blankets everything at Harvest Farm Greenhouses in Whately, signs of spring are already starting to peek out of the soil — in their heated greenhouses that is. Here, the first batch of seeds were planted in January.

“We get the early stuff going then, like the cabbage and the kale,” says owner David Wojciechowski. Once these cold-hardy veggie seedlings — or “starts” — are large enough to be sold and transplanted outdoors (perhaps under row covering or other cold-weather protection), “that’s when we move in the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant,” he says.

Wojciechowski knew his life’s calling from the moment he watched a handful of bean seeds his father gave him sprout and reach for the sky. “Then my whole younger life was spent trying to amass a small fortune so I could afford to buy a farm,” he says.

In the late 1970s he was able to purchase 20 acres and launch Harvest Farm of Whately with friend and business partner Gary Gemme. The farm found its niche growing produce from their fields and starts in their greenhouses for a wholesale market.

Through it all, Wojciechowski always was drawn to the greenhouses. “I’m a natural there,” he says. “It comes really easy to me. So, when I turned 65 a few years back, I said, ‘I’ve had enough of this rain, wind and scorching heat,’ and focused my full attention on that part of the business.”

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