NEW BEDFORD — As one drives past a row of industrial buildings, some in decay, in the heart of New Bedford, a large greenhouse offers an unexpected and arresting sight.
Hard by a railroad siding and in the shadow of the old mills that once gave the city its prosperity, a new enterprise, inner-city agriculture, has begun to sprout. Literally.
“We grow 30 to 35 varieties of micro greens in here depending on the time of year,” said David Rose, standing inside the large climate-controlled greenhouse at the corner of Church Street and Coffin Avenue.
Mr. Rose is a grower who oversees this unique operation for Sid Wainer & Son, the well-known specialty produce company whose large Purchase Street distribution center is located just across the tracks.
“Light is the only limiting factor,” Mr. Rose said. “In the summertime, start to finish, it takes about seven days. Winter, it’s 14 to 21 days. In winter, we mostly do the cabbage family — broccoli, Russian red kale, mustard varieties and radish. We also have shingku. We combine them to get a rainbow mix. A half-pound of this will do a hundred entrees, they tell me.”