A former junkyard with no soil or water is an unlikely spot for a farm but it’s where one couple has set up shop and is growing fresh produce.
- Brick Street Farms an indoor hydroponic farm
- Supplying vegetables for restaurants in downtown St. Pete
At first glance Brick Street Farms looks like anything but a farm. But behind the gates and inside of three bright green freight containers are commercial size, indoor, hydroponic farms.
Shannon O’Malley and her husband say they started out as accidental farmers but decided to launch this unique business just blocks from downtown St. Pete.
“We grow plants vertically inside climate controlled containers. We simulate light, wind, soil and temperature. By doing that we’re able to grow plants year round,” she said. “We like to think we’re helping St. Petersburg with what we call city food revolution. It’s really about bringing the local food movement to where people live.”
Each container houses more than an acre worth of different lettuce, herbs and kale. Now they’ve caught the attention of big restaurants like Bella Brava and Stillwater Tavern.
Stillwater Tavern Executive Chef Jeffrey Jew said buying fresh produce from the new farm is paying off with his customers.
“The product enhances us because it comes from a local supplier but also it’s a lot cleaner of a product. It’s not grown in soil. So it’s cleaner and sometimes you still have to wash it but sometimes you don’t really have to,” he said.
O’Malley said their unique concept has people stopping by wanting a peek inside.
Each container has more than an acre and a half of fresh kale, lettuce and herbs. And if the fresh smell of kale doesn’t catch your attention the bright pink lights will. O’Malley said those are the grow lights and for plants it’s like daytime.
She said you won’t find the produce that she has in local grocery stores.
If you’re curious and want to visit Brick Street Farms and take a look around, your best bet is to go online, purchase some of their and once you come here and pick up your order, they’ll give you a peek inside.
O’Malley said they produce enough for their client base and they donate their leftovers to local charities.
Shannon O'Malley talks to Saundra Weathers. Behind them, one of the hydroponic freight containers. (Brick Street Farms)