Updated: 04/03/2014 5:42 PM
Created: 04/03/2014 5:12 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson
A greenhouse full of tomatoes in Superior is getting a little extra light from an unlikely source: lamps seized from a pot bust.
The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office is donating thousands of dollars worth of equipment seized in marijuana operations to Bay Produce, a non-profit in Superior that grows hundreds of thousands of pounds of tomatoes every year.
Bay Produce is also part of the Challenge Center and provides jobs to adults with developmental disabilities.
Sheriff Ross Litman said the equipment came from three major drug investigations over the past four years. In addition to the equipment, 1,500 marijuana plants were seized from those operations.
The sheriff said much of the equipment was brand new and of high quality.
"There was a really high likelihood that if we put the items up on a lot and auctioned them off they would fall right back in the hands of people that would use it for illegal means," he said.
So instead, they decided to donate it to Bay Produce, an impressive growing operation of a different kind.
"We're a non-profit and the value of the lights alone is like $14,000, so it's just a great, great gift," said Richard Fisher, a grower at Bay Produce.
The greenhouse provides employment for 25 individuals with disabilities, said Debbie Gergen, the Work Services Director.
Northlanders can find Bay Produce Beefsteak tomatoes at grocery stores in the Twin Ports and beyond. The group also grows grape tomatoes, bell peppers, and basil.
Roy Breezee usually picks the grape tomatoes.
"I have worked here since early September 1990," he explained.
He said the donated lamps are a wondrous addition to Bay Produce.
"It's going to make our grape tomatoes look healthier, produce better, and perhaps even taste better!" said Brezee.
In addition to the lights, the office also donated fans, timers, cords, and fertilizer.
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