The Homestead Hydroponic Farm, located outside Sarasota, Florida, is like most hydroponic farms in that it grows all of its produce using only water, not soil. But it’s unique in its origin story as a multi-generational family farm.
a hydroponic family farm
Homestead Hydroponic Farm was established in 2014 by Sarasota natives Sarah Whannel and Mike Baker. They started with an empty 7.5 acre lot next to Myakka State Park, having to dig a well and build both a house and a 5,000 sq-ft greenhouse.
The farm later expanded, and they were joined by Sarah’s sister and brother-in-law Ally and Neil O’Connor. Mike’s mother, a self-titled “tomato whisperer,” also helps out. It’s a true family affair!
The goal of the farm is to produce the highest quality product possible without any chemical pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or GMOs. They use eco-friendly pest management like ladybugs to defend against aphids. Flower rows planted on-site attract pests to them instead of the produce.
different hydroponic methods
All hydroponic growing is done in water instead of soil, but there are many different methods of going about it. At Homestead, they grow using both climate-controlled and open greenhouses. Shipping container farms are used for growing microgreens and other micro lettuces, sprouts, and shoots.
And, mixed media ground troughs use beds of coco fiber and pine bark – these grow mostly different kinds of root vegetables.
The farm grows a variety of vegetables including unique lettuces, flavorful tomatoes, and delicious cucumbers. Also in the mix are microgreens, spicy banana peppers, swiss chard, carrots, radishes, and even strawberries. Edible flowers and herbs like dill, bronze fennel, and Thai basil are also on offer. Shoppers at the Sarasota Farmers Market can also buy their produce.
They’re proud to sell fresh produce that tastes amazing and keeps well, harvesting everything within 24-48 hours of purchase to maintain the highest quality, which keeps their customers coming back for more!