In 1969, Joe Doef emigrated from Holland, with Horticultural degrees and with dreams of starting up his own greenhouse business. He started out on a borrowed piece of property with a small greenhouse and grew the first crop of tomatoes. (Actually, that greenhouse was destroyed in a hail storm the following year.)
In a few years, he met and married a local girl, Helen, and built a larger greenhouse on that same borrowed piece of property and grew the first crop of Long English cucumbers – one of the first Long English cucumber crops ever grown in Alberta greenhouses.
In 1976, the big move was made to their own acreage west of Lacombe and full-time “greenhousing” was begun. The first structure was wooden framed, and in 1980, was crushed under a heavy snow-load in the winter. Temporary repairs were made, and a crop was still grown in that make-shift structure. The following year, the decision was made to take down the wooden greenhouse and build a (then) state of the art steel framed greenhouse. Long English cucumbers and tomatoes were still grown and the market for them was local stores and local farmers’ markets.
By then, the family had grown with the addition of 5 children.
Additions were also made to the original greenhouse over the years and in 1997, a larger, more efficient style of greenhouse was added on the property, and with other additions being made in 2000 and 2001, for a total of 6 acres under double poly. In 2010 the family decided to add another 5 acres of state of the art glass greenhouse. Currently the greenhouse is 11 acres and employs almost 50 people.
The main crops continue to be Long English cucumbers, mini cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers, with small amounts of eggplant and hot peppers as well.
The family is actively involved in the day-to-day operation of the greenhouse and strives to be stewardly while staying on innovative paths.