Inside the world’s first indoor saltwater farm growing sea beans

What began as a College of Charleston graduate research project, researching and cultivating an edible, salty succulent that thrives in saltwater has grown into a start-up that nationally distributes sea beans.

Now nearly two years later, these salty stalks have exploded in popularity; they are featured in local dishes, beverages, and delivered to your home. What was once a solo operation is now a team effort: the handful of plants have turned into a few hundred thousand in the first indoor saltwater farm in the world.

Norton sees Heron Farms as the first step in a larger push for saltwater agriculture, using incoming seawater as a resource to create food, jobs, and freshwater. In the meantime, this hydroponic farm will continue to churn out these green shoots, grown under led lights and soaking up saltwater collected right here in the Lowcountry, which gives the plant its characteristic briny bite. 

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