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Berlin Organics to offer local produce on Main St.

(June 25, 2015) Another dimension to Sunday strolls through downtown Berlin is about to be added, as the Visitor’s Center on Main Street will soon offer fresh, local produce.
Berlin Organics, a family farm specializing in hydroponic tomatoes grown with organic seeds, will provide the products.
“I have heard several suggestions from residents how wonderful it would be to walk downtown on the weekend to pick up fresh, local produce,” Berlin Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells said. “So, I thought, why not? The Berlin Organic Grocer here on Main Street is re-organizing to a food co-op and will open soon, but until then I’d like to be able to offer this service to our community as well.”
Paul Carlotta, a Berlin native with a background in nutrition, founded the Berlin Organics farm three years ago.
“We couldn’t find anywhere around to basically buy organic, local produce, so we started growing, starting with 900 heirloom plants and our hydroponic greenhouse,” Carlotta said. “My grandfather, an old Italian man, used to grow heirloom tomatoes and he had me working the garden very young. We’re very well known in the community for our heirloom tomatoes, and that’s my passion.”
The custom-made hydroponic greenhouse creates the ideal location for growing Carlotta’s signature crop.
“We use organic fish emulsions for nutrients, along with some other odds and ends that are all natural, and then we have a tank here and we’re able to irrigate the plants, once an hour, all day long,” Carlotta said. “They grow in this environment, which is controlled, so we don’t have to worry about pests.”
Without pests, Carlotta said, the need to spray potentially dangerous pesticides is nonexistent.
“We grow everything naturally,” he said. “It also makes for a much longer growing season.”
Tomato season, generally speaking, runs from July through August on the Eastern Shore. With Carlotta’s method, the first ripe tomatoes arrive in early June and last until October.  
Today the small, attached store at Berlin Organics also sells basil, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, red tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, several different varieties of cherry tomatoes, and a number of other crops grown on site. The shop also carries a selection of products, including local honey, sourced from other regional growers.  
“Most everything here, if not grown here, it’s locally sourced,” Carlotta said.
Carlotta plans to have something up and running outside the Visitor’s Center “within the next couple weeks,” on Sundays from 9 a.m. until noon.
“We’re going to set up and start selling our local produce, focusing primarily on the heirloom tomatoes, squash, zucchini and some vegetables that are grown here, locally,” Carlotta said. “We’re really starting to dial it all around during the third year, and we have a lot of production now. We grow a lot of tomatoes, and they’re very, very tasty. They’re original varieties, and they taste like real old-fashioned tomatoes. That’s what we do best.”
Berlin Organics is located on 8816 Stephen Decatur Highway just outside of Berlin town limits. For more information, visit