Featured #swampfarmer: Growing Greens Family Farm

Chris (L) and Nathan (R) Photo: Jack Robert Photography

 

 

 

Growing Greens Family Farm has the perfect name because not only do they grow the delicious microgreens and lettuce we carry, Nathan and Chris are also brothers-in-law! The farm has been in operation since 2012, but is relatively new to Anderson with Nathan and Chris relocating to the Upstate last year from Michigan. The 100 days of extra sunlight that we get here and memories of the beautiful childhood outdoor trips their family took drew them here! They have a great combination of minds with Nathan’s background in horticulture and nutritional analysis and Chris’s background in computer science. We are excited to welcome them to the Upstate farming community!

Beautiful! Photo: Ashley Simon

 

Growing Greens utilizes multiple growing practices to provide delicious veggies to SRCG’s customers. It is a Certified Naturally Grown farm with current focuses in growing hydroponic lettuces, LIVING microgreen trays (beautiful and good for you!), and a permaculture approach to soil farming. The majority of their seeds are heirloom and organic to focus on health, nutrition, and sustainability.

Here’s lookin’ at you, Lettuce (hydroponic)!  Photo: Julie McGuire

For the hydroponics system, no soil is used and instead a steady stream of clean water with Certified Organic natural nutrients passes by the root ball of each plant in a vertical planting system. The Nutrient Film Technique that Growing Greens uses reduces the amount of water needed to grow plants to 10% that of soil farming. It eliminates any contamination from heavy metals that exist in soil as well as any pests that might decide they need a snack. It’s not weird, just different and delicious!

Look at all of that Nutrition! Photo: Julie McGuire

One of our favorite things that we get from Nathan and Chris are their LIVING microgreen trays. Each variety of microgreen is the starting sprout from the seed of a vegetable plant. The microgreens are grown in a mixture of perlite, which is a naturally occurring volcanic rock that prevents mold contamination and retains moisture, and nutrient dense compost soil. They are also easy to take home and enjoy for a whole week or more, making them super economical. For younger greens, you can put the tray near a window sill to get natural light and water daily to watch them grow. Once they get to a height you like, simply just take some scissors and snap away. For older microgreens,  store in the fridge until devoured. Make sure you eat them within 4 hours for 30 times the nutrients!

Yummy Micros! Photo: Ashley Simon

Looking at one of these trays you can’t even begin to count the amount of sprouts on it. As the start of a veggie plant such as broccoli, kale, or radish, the little seed and sprout is packed with enough nutrients that the plants will need for a whole life span. This means that a small handful has as much nutrition for our bodies as a full serving of a vegetable! In fact, a small handful of the Sunflower microgreens has the same amount of protein in it as a small 4 oz piece of chicken! Crazy, right? We should be eating them on everything! If you’re skeptical of whether or not you will like them, you can try the pea shoot microgreens on one of our wood-fired pizzas. As if you needed any more excuses to eat pizza!

Lots of Learning! Photo: Ashley Simon

Growing Greens is also currently working closely with Clemson University to get their soil to a point where they can operate as a Biointensive Permaculture farm. This means that every single plant, flower, and bug works together in a fully sustainable ecosystem that needs no added fertilizers or nutrients. They are currently experimenting with many different layouts of raised beds, types of grading, nutrition-packed compost, and crop rotation for everything to work harmoniously. It was so interesting to hear about their wealth of knowledge on and exciting to see their passion for each method that they were working on! They care so much about the environment and responsibly using resources that are planning in the future to utilize solar and wind energy to further become a zero net energy farm.

Tiered beds to utilize Permaculture! Photo: Ashley Simon

You can currently catch a tasty treat of their excitement for farming in our store with the microgreens, arugula, and lettuce mixes. In the future keep an eye out for their chemical-free tomatoes (Nathan’s favorite), carrots (Chris’ favorite), kiwis, herbs, and edible flowers as well as them becoming a Certified Organic farm! If you want to hang out with them and see their enthusiasm first-hand they are planning on hosting Community Days at the farm for volunteering and fun as well as erecting a barn for dancing! We here at SRCG love dance parties and farmers that are doing so many good things for our planet. We are thankful to have Growing Greens Family Farm in our #swampfarmer family!

#eatlocalridebikes                              Photo: Jack Robert Photography