Hydroponic farms become produce alternative for local businesses

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A couple of places around the city will soon be farming indoors when their hydroponic gardens from Babylon Micro-Farms are installed.

Babylon Micro-Farms is a company that focuses on bringing fresh produce to the table using hydroponic control technology.

The company said it will be installing hydroponic gardens at a couple of University of Virginia dining halls and the Trout House at Boar's Head Resort.

Three Notch'd Brewery already installed a hydroponic farm and has been using it for a month to help produce spices and herbs for dishes.

Patrick Carroll, executive chef at Three Notch'd Brewery, said the company reached out to them and offered this alternative indoor method to grow their produce.

"We use a lot of different microgreens for garnishing and also for soups," said Carroll.

Carroll said a representative from Babylon Micro-Farms approached him with the idea to bring their farming indoors.

"The great thing about hydroponic is that you can grow pretty much the same thing with no soil and 50 times faster than with soil," he said.

He also said the hydroponic farm is an important feature to show their guests the way they handle their food.

"It's a huge wild factor for guests because you don't see this anywhere. I think that it really draws people to the restaurant," Carroll said. "They see that we're really doing craft things here growing our own food and harvesting our own food."

The hydroponic farm also challenged Carroll to use new herbs in recipes.

"It kind of challenged me a little bit more to learn about what it tastes like and what would go well with it and then we would put that in our menu," he said. "Since we change our menu every week here at Three Notch'd, it's actually easier for us to do because we have new micro-greens and greens coming out for us."

Babylon Micro-Farms said it'll be installing hydroponic gardens at Newcomb and O-Hill Dining Halls at UVA on Friday.

The Trout House renovation is expected to be completed in late October.

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