Spring has sprung here in the Northwoods, but at Canopy Gardens, it began in December.
“We enjoy working in the greenhouse in the winter,” said Pam Augustyn, co-owner of Canopy Gardens, located on Orchard Road, 5 miles east of downtown Antigo. “When there is snow on the ground and subzero temperatures outside, in the greenhouse it is warm and cozy.”
The Augustyns have a milestone year this year, as it is their 25th season growing tomatoes. They built their greenhouse in 1995, and began selling produce the following year. Pete and Pam Augustyn have seven children, each of whom were an important part in the decision to begin Canopy Gardens, and were instrumental throughout the years as the family worked together.
“We were homeschooling, and praying for a family business in which we could work together. God answered that prayer in an amazing way,” Pam Augustyn said.
Canopy Gardens’ tomatoes, cucumbers and basil are available in all the grocery stores in Antigo, as well as many stores in surrounding communities. Their salsa is available in many of these locations, also. With this being their 25th season, plans are in the works for an exciting year.
“This is a good opportunity to give back to our community, so watch for sales and giveaways surrounding the number 25,” Pam Augustyn said.
Pete and Pam Augustyn have grown the greenhouse from four bays in 1995 to its present size of 11 bays, which covers 31,000 square feet, about three-fourths of an acre.
The greenhouse is heated with wood chips, a byproduct of a local mill. The business employs seven to 12 people throughout the season.
Each year in December, all of the plants are taken out of the greenhouse, and it is completely cleaned out and replanted. The family takes advantage of the low light levels in that time of year and the lengthening days in January to begin the crop.
In recent years, the Augustyns have begun the transition process of turning the business over to their children. Their son, Andrew, and his wife, Heather, are now partners in Canopy Gardens and intend to continue the business when Pete and Pam Augustyn retire.