US: Virginia family farm Solid Rock Growers adds greenhouse to vertical farm

Chad and Nicole Martin's Solid Rock Growers is a family business that moved to Grand Rapids four years ago. Twenty acres and an enormous pole building out in the country south of town provided just the space they needed. They moved north from the Twin Cities in search of a more rural life. 

The pole building, complete with floor heating, is the main production site for microgreens and lettuce. Enormous shelves complete with LED grow lights are home to lettuce of all kinds. And rolling racks outfitted with grow lights hold tray after tray of a wide variety of microgreens. "I asked which variety is the customers' favorite: Bodacious Brassica Mix wins the prize. I also spy pea shoots and sunflowers, two of my favorite microgreens", writes Marlise Riffel with after a visit to the company.

Some of the lettuce is hydroponic, but all the microgreens are currently growing in soil. And they're misted with purified ocean water twice during their short growth period. The business is not certified organic but employs all organic products and methods. Germination begins in large humidity tents that provide just the right dark, moist atmosphere needed. Then the tiny sprouts move to the growing racks until they're large enough to cut and package. They're watered with triple-filtered well water that is then put through reverse osmosis purification.

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