This is the first of a new series of posts which will highlight local farms in the southeast. My hopes with these posts are to bring attention to the amazing work these individuals are doing and to educate our readers about the benefits of purchasing more frequently from local farms.
Hydroponic Lettuce Farming in North Georgia
Jeff Adams is the owner of Circle A Farms, a hydroponic lettuce farm located in Cumming, GA. I had a chance to speak with Jeff and tour the facility recently.
I was first introduced to Circle A Farms when I picked up some Romaine and Bibb lettuce at a local farmers market. I was so impressed with the quality of the lettuce that I had to tour the facility and see the operation. Using hydroponic technology, Circle A Farms grows Bibb, Romaine and Spring lettuces as well as Basil. The plants are held in a medium without soil as nutrient rich water passes by the roots allowing the plant to receive a constant flow of nourishment. This reduces growing time, increases yield and provides for better control over the crop. The entire operation is housed in a large green house which is temperature controlled year round. From the scorching Georgia summers to the bitter cold winters, Jeff can maintain his crops as if he was growing in Southern California. With hydroponic technology, Jeff is able to minimize plant-eating bugs such as Aphids by introducing Lady Bugs to the grow area, which feed on the Aphids. This eliminates the need to spray harmful pesticides. Also because the entire farm is housed inside and off the ground, there is no risk of E. Coli contamination from animal waste.
When I visited the farm they were busy cleaning the grow containers to be prepped for another batch of seedlings. Jeff is able to continually harvest lettuces every week by always moving seedlings into the empty containers which were just harvested. I have personally tried all of the lettuces they offer and can say without a doubt you can tell a huge difference over your typical grocer varieties. I mentioned to Jeff that I have had a container of his Bibb lettuce in my fridge for 10 days and it still looks as fresh as the ones in his garden! He gave me a helpful tip about placing a small amount of water in the bottom of the container, which helps keep the lettuce even longer. He mentioned some customers have told him his Romaine lettuces have maintained freshness for more than 4 weeks in the fridge. However, I wouldn’t recommend this because as soon as you make your first Caesar Salad with this lettuce, there won’t be a need to keep it in the fridge!
*Read the article about how Circle A Farms will be supplying lettuce to all Forsyth county schools!
Why Hydroponic Lettuce?
- It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene
- No risk of E. Coli or other bacterial contaminants
- Maximum nutritional value
- Grown in a cleaner environment than organic farming
Reasons to choose local produce:
- It is more nutritious than what you get at a grocer. Why? The average fruit/vegetable at a chain grocery store may have traveled more than 1500 miles to arrive there. A recent study showed that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly, therefore locally grown food is always higher in nutrient content.
- It tastes better and it’s better for you. It also encourages good eating habits because the produce is harvested at the peak of freshness with good taste as a prime criterion.
- Local farmers do not use genetically modified seed which produces genetically modified/bioengineered food. Locally grown food was bred the old-fashioned way, as nature intended it.
Where can I get Circle A Farms Hydroponic Lettuce?
The Metropolitan Club-Alpharetta
The Blue Bicycle-Dawsonville
Marie’s Italian Deli-Cumming
- Wednesdays from 3:00-5:00pm right on the farm. Located at:
2500 Dishroom Road Cumming, GA 30028
- The Brookwood Farmers Market
- The Cumming Farmers Market on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s till August 29th
*They also deliver to neighborhoods if you can get several households on board! They currently deliver to the following areas. Call Cheryl at (678) 778-3114 to set up a new site.
- Crooked Creek
- Princeton Square
- Chattahoochee River
- Three Chimneys
- White Columns
- Couch Orthodontics