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Madison is home to several major industries which complement the area's rich heritage of agriculture and forestry. These major employers take advantage of a strong local labor force and some of the lowest energy costs in the region. For information on opportunities to grow your business in Madison, contact the Town Office at 696 3971.
In 2006, US Functional Foods invested in a 24-acre, state-of-the-art glass greenhouse facility in Madison on approximately 330 acres of prime farm land located on the River Road. It is considered the largest greenhouse east of the Mississippi River, and employs over 200 people in the area.
Growing vine-ripened, hydroponic tomatoes, the Backyard Farms complex utilizes world class technology to create an environmentally-friendly business producing fully ripened tomatoes year round. The greenhouse incorporates grow-lights, thermal blanketing for production climate control and a water-recycling runoff system. Roof runoff provides approximately 90 percent of irrigation water.
Because the plants are grown above the ground in a soilless medium, they do not have to use chemical pesticides, and native bumblebees are used for pollination. Nutrients are mixed with water and delivered in a process called "fertigation".
The plants, which hang on stringed hooks, grow a foot a week. They lower the plants as the tomatoes ripen. The longer the tomato is on the vine, the better tasting the tomato as it only gets its flavor while it's growing on the plant.
The company ships approximately 300,000 tomatoes weekly to New England markets within 24 hours of picking. Thus New England's consumers will be able to enjoy fresh, locally-grown tomatoes on a year-round basis.
And, tomatoes may only be the beginning! Plans are underway for additional greenhouses on the 330-acre site to raise crops such as peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, herbs and strawberries.
Madison Electric Works
Formed in 1888 Madison Electric is a quasi-municipal agency that provides low cost energy to approximately 2200 customers in Madison, Anson and Starks. Because of lower overhead and delivery costs, local customers pay lower overall energy costs. Industry like Backyard Farms and Madison Paper benefit from the lower cost energy, as will other businesses who move their business to locations like the Madison Business Gateway.
With the development of natural gas piped into the area, new opportunities to generate electricity are presenting themselves. Madison Electric Works is looking into ways to offer more savings to customers and inticing more business development. Superintendent Calvin Ames reports to a five member board: Steven Dean: Chair, Richard Bartlett, Charles Worster, George Stoutamyer and Dennis Wright.