Vertical Fresh Farms in Kenmore, NY
Microgreens are everywhere, and Kenmore, NY is no exception. Housed indoors on Kenmore Ave is Vertical Fresh Farms, an urban farm growing 20+ varieties of microgreens. The tiny, edible greens have made a big impact in restaurants, grocery stores, and Farmers Markets, and for Matt Latham, they are the center of his business.
Matt began Vertical Fresh Farms in 2010 with his Brother-in-Law, Jeremy. The two of them saw Urban Agriculture as a promising area of business to keep up with agricultural demand of city-dwellers. With their eagerness to feed the city, they turned to the books. “For me, I have no background in this. It was just reading and reading, online eBooks and tutorials, whether its plumbing or lighting.” Pretty soon they were up and running, mastering the art of hydroponic farming as they progressed.
So, what is hydroponic farming?
At Vertical Fresh, Matt and his crew place seeds on long sheets of felt to grow. The felt allows the roots to penetrate and access the water and liquid nutrients while offering structure to the rest of the plant. Matt had just watered the room before I arrived and he said the beds will stay wet for 30 hours.
Pictured above are pea microgreens (left) and sunflower (right). As microgreens are becoming more recognized and accessible, they are becoming more popular. Even kids are joining the bandwagon! "I sell these to families I know. One family told me 'I watch Jeopardy with my daughters and we eat sunflowers and peas instead of Doritos.'"
For most, swapping Doritos for microgreens may not be that easy. Matt mentioned that "the hardest part of this food is teaching people how to be healthy." However, as microgreens are sprouting up in more places, they definitely have the potential to improve people's health.