Resurrection Ranch’s LumiGrow Lighting Brings Year-Round Produce to Rural Montana
About Resurrection Ranch
Resurrection Ranch is located on 160-acres of land in the heart of the Big Belt range of Montana’s Rocky Mountains. Their Westbrook greenhouse and indoor growing facility produce certified organic heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, microgreens, and herbs year-round.
Farm-to-Table Controlled Environment Agriculture
Owner Jason Balius and his wife Stacey have been in the restaurant business their entire lives. They moved to Montana in 2013 to pursue their dream of opening an organic farm-to-table restaurant.
“We were quickly made aware that it was a food desert,” recalls Jason, “It was hard to source quality ingredients.”
They realized that the most practical solution was to grow those ingredients themselves. However, Montana’s harsh climate, short growing season, and rocky soil make traditional dirt farming a challenge.
“The microgreens grown indoors are unreal. They grow very fast – they only take 2 weeks to get to harvest, and have lots of color. In the greenhouse, it takes closer to 4 or 5 weeks.” – Jason Balius, Owner of Resurrection Ranch
Growing a Food Oasis in the Montana Rockies
To address these challenges, Resurrection Ranch built 6,200 square feet of greenhouse space and a 1,500 square foot indoor growing space. The shortest winter days provide just over 8.5 hours of sunlight. Jason knew that supplemental lighting was not optional.
“There’s no way you could operate a farm up here without lighting,” says Jason, “I did a lot of research about which company to go with. I chose LumiGrow because it has a superior product. It’s the best on the market.”
Thanks to his account manager’s dedication, Resurrection Ranch was also able to obtain a rebate from their utility. The 30% rebate from Northwest Energy applied to both the cost of the fixtures and installation.
From Zero to Hero
Despite never having farmed before, Jason quickly learned how to grow with his LumiGrow fixtures. Jason starts most of his plants in his 100% LumiGrow LED-lit indoor growing space. He has almost a 100% germination rate.
Despite sub-freezing outside temperatures, his tomatoes germinate within 5-7 days. Tomatoes can take up to 14 days to germinate indoors. Once the tomato seedlings are old enough, Jason transplants them to the larger greenhouse.
Jason turns on his LumiGrow fixtures in the two greenhouse spaces in the morning and evening to extend photoperiod. Jason’s 2,000 tomato plants are thriving there. This year he was able to start his plants in March- the earliest to date. The outdoor growing season doesn’t start until mid-June, which gives him an advantage over the farmers who are waiting to transplant their seedlings outdoors.
Supplemental LED Lighting for Quicker Harvests
Resurrection Ranch’s microgreens and lettuce take 50% less time to reach harvest weight than the same variety grown in the greenhouse.
“The microgreens grown indoors are unreal,” says Jason, “They grow very fast, and have lots of color. Growing them under the LumiGrow fixtures speeds up the process immensely. They only take 2 weeks to get to harvest. In the greenhouse, it takes closer to 4 or 5 weeks.”
For his Mountain Mix lettuce, Jason gets 2-3 harvests per plant. He is planning on switching from growing in dirt to growing in an NFT hydroponic system. He’s excited to see how the plants respond.
Lighting up the Hen House
Resurrection Ranch has also installed 4 LumiGrow fixtures in their chicken coop to encourage more egg production.
“The pink color is soothing for the chickens. It reduces a lot of behavioral and pecking order issues,” explains Jason, “It also extends egg-laying.”
A Dream Realized
Five years later, Resurrection Ranch is thriving. Their products consistently sell out at the local grocery stores, and Jason and Stacey are ready to make the ‘table’ part of their farm-to-table restaurant a reality. They are currently looking for land to build their restaurant on.
One thing hasn’t changed- Jason’s positive experience working with LumiGrow.
“It was a dream. And it continues to be [a dream],” says Jason, “I have access to a plant specialist whenever I need them, [my account managers] have been nothing but fantastic. LumiGrow’s customer service is stellar.
“Anybody who asks me about lighting, I recommend LumiGrow. I was talking to a grower in Ohio, and he was curious to know who I used. I told him, ‘Dude, you’ve got to go with these guys. They’re the best.”
- Problem. Short outdoor growing season and rocky soil made year-round growing challenging
- Solution. Installed LumiGrow fixtures in greenhouse and germination room; received rebate from utility (NorthWestern Energy)
- Results. >30% reduction in tomato germination time; 50% reduction in leafy greens’ turn time; saved 30% on fixtures and installations