Hydroponics is a family affair; at least, it is for Rod Kelly and his daughter Alex Armstrong. They founded Fare House Farms, located in Spring, Texas. The farm grows vegetables without soil, using only water and nutrients – the growing process of hydroponics. It’s a family project for the father-daughter dynamic duo!
searching for quality local produce
Both Rod (a petroleum engineer) and Alex (a marketer) were dissatisfied with the availability of quality, fresh produce in their city. Most of it (about 80 percent) was shipped in from California. This required substantial transportation time that reduced the longevity of produce freshness.
They also didn’t have a good sense of how the California produce was grown. Were the vegetables treated with toxic chemical pesticides or fertilizers? It was hard to get information coming from out of state.
hydroponics: taste & technology
As fate would have it, both father and daughter were searching for a collaborative project. Both were fascinated with what they learned about hydroponic technology. Soon, they began experimenting with growing lettuce hydroponically.
They were impressed with the results. Hydroponic lettuce was much sweeter and more crunchy than the conventional soil-grown lettuce that Alex was accustomed to eating. She was amazed at how truly fresh and tasty lettuce could be – and, this is how Fare House Farms came to be.
fare house farms
Fare House Farms uses a container farm made by Freight Farms. They can grow up to 3.5 acres in about 320 feet of space. It’s highly technical, with red and blue LED lights providing light for the vegetables instead of natural sunlight.
Fare House employs a smart watering system. The water is reused and recycled throughout, so the farm uses much less water than with conventional farming. In fact, the entire farm uses only about 5 gallons of water on average a day!
And, what do they grow? A range of lettuces, like Oakleaf, Bibb, Summer Crisp, and Butterhead; as well as other greens and herbs. These include Arugula, Kale, Swiss Chard, Pak Choi, Basil, Lemon Balm, and Red Veined Sorrel. And, true to Farm House Farm’s mantra of fresh produce, they do not use any toxic herbicides, pesticides or GMO seeds.
If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by for a look!
Source: The Courier of Montgomery County, Fare House Farms. Image from Fare House Farms.