Blue Roof Hydro Farm, LLC

Building a successful greenhouse by hand from scratch

Eads, Co 81036

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Growing up on a family farm where Katie’s mom, dad, and younger brother all worked together made her realize the value of a “family-oriented” business. Her parents taught her that the ability to teach kids new skills while working as a family makes a demanding job very rewarding. She came to realize that she desired these qualities for her own business. With both of her daughters in school and husband, Zach, busy taking care of their cattle and farm east of Eads, Colorado, she felt the desire to start her own business……….but what?

Zach told Katie about a used 3,000 square foot greenhouse with hydroponic growing equipment that he had heard was for sale. This was something she had no prior experience with, but after growing a large family garden and her farming background, she thought it might be a good fit for her. Katie contacted the La Junta SBDC for business startup consulting and not long after, Katie and Zach made the decision to purchase the structure and equipment, dismantle it, and move it to their property in Kiowa County.

The “re-construction” process began in early 2013 with Zach as the primary contractor with occasional help from family nearby. Together Katie and Zach tackled dirt work, pouring concrete, framing, wiring, plumbing, and configuring greenhouse controls – all without hiring any outside help! As a result of this hard work, Blue Roof Hydro Farm, LLC was born. A home-based business Katie started, including an office and laboratory, just a short walk from her home’s front door.

"I saw great value in contacting the SBDC for startup consulting. It's a great resource for anyone wanting to start a new business or purchase an existing one."Katie Kopasz

Katie can control many different environmental elements in the greenhouse such as temperature, humidity and water. The plants grow hydroponically - without soil and instead receive water containing dissolved nutrients to nourish them through a drip system. The plants are grown in a media called rockwool; a fibrous material originally used as insulation. Katie grows two varieties of tomato, one is a large slicing tomato and the other is a roma. When in full production, the greenhouse yields 2,000 lbs. of produce every 10 days. Katie sells mostly wholesale to local restaurants and grocery stores. She also offers a small amount of cucumbers, peppers, and cherry tomatoes to the locals who stop by.

Katie says, "I saw great value in contacting the SBDC for startup counseling. It's a great resource for anyone wanting to start a new business or purchase an existing one”.

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