Emil Belibasis grows hydroponic tomatoes in Wellborn, Fla., in the state’s Panhandle region. He is originally from Honduras but got his horticulture degree and master’s from the University of Florida. But the 59-year-old left the academic life and private sector more than two decades ago and started from scratch his tomato business.
He now grows about four acres of tomatoes annually on his Beli Farms and sells to a big grocery store chain in the region. He seeds his own plants and transplants them in August, shooting for a harvest near the end of November. This year, his first harvest was Nov. 22. Southeast Farm Press was there and here is what it looked like. He’ll harvest the same plants until June next year.