UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Lakeville Specialty Produce Co. is a one-acre facility in Washingtonville, Pennsylvania, specializing in premium salad greens for restaurants, caterers and consumers. Lakeville was losing its primary heat source for its greenhouse, resulting in costs that could negatively affect the company’s bottom line and the future of its lettuce production. However, the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) at Penn State worked with the Montour County greenhouse to find the resources and funding needed to stay in business.
Lakeville’s products are hydroponic, meaning they are grown without soil. Roots are supported in foam cubes and supplied with a solution of mineral nutrients. Lakeville’s greenhouse relied on propane heaters and waste heat from a local power plant to supply energy to heat the greenhouse through the winter. The waste heat, sent from the power plant in the form of water, was the primary source of heat used in order to reduce cost and environmental impact. Over the years, the power plant began to reduce its operation and, as a result, it was not sending a large enough quantity of hot water to Lakeville to produce heat.