Meet a Farmer: Ion Sfetcu of Houwelings Tomatoes
At a very young age, his father planted a passion for farming in him, and now he grows vegetables for one of North America’s largest greenhouse farming operations. Meet the dynamic and very busy (he farms a lot of acres!) Ion Sfetcu and find out what advice he would give to someone interested in farming today.
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Ion: We are getting ready to take on the new challenges that 600,000 tomato plants on 18.2 hectares, brings every day! For reference, 18.2 hectares is about 45 acres.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite part of farming?
Ion: Every segment of the entire tomato cycle in high-tech greenhouses is interesting but planting the new seedlings and getting the right start is one of my favorite parts of farming. Just like the first seven years of human life you need to start with a good foundation for a good ride!
CA GROWN: How do you give back to the community?
Ion: Besides job creation and economic impact for the community, our main objective is to produce a healthy, tasty, and high-quality product for local, national, and international markets while using fewer natural resources by utilizing the most modern-advanced cultivation techniques in the high-tech greenhouses.
CA GROWN: What drew you into farming?
Ion: My dad germinated the first seeds in my mind for loving plants and Mother Nature in general. That was at a very young stage in my life and from there it was just a follow up of what I loved doing most.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or past times when you are not farming?
Ion: I enjoy hiking, gardening and skiing.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start farming?
Ion: If the first impression about farming is not the best do not stop, keep doing it and you will realize the beauty of this job and the rewards associated with this job are bigger than many other jobs.
CA GROWN: What are one or two things you do on the farm to be sustainable?
Ion: We follow many sustainability practices including drip irrigation, water recirculation; capturing and using the CO2 in the greenhouses from the CoGens/boilers.