For the past several months, you may have noticed a 5.4 oz white paper bag with a tasty salad mix of eight different herbs and lettuces packaged as a Spring Mix, provided for sale at the Big Rock Supermarket under the Gezondheid Farms brand. With Phase 1 of the greenhouse project moving the project forward with 50% of the infrastructure completed, Phase 2 of the project has been requested for approval to complete the full build-out as originally planned for the project to sustain crop production on Saba.
In being proactive, Gezondheid Farms was tasked to get crops to market as fast as possible to gain confidence and approvals to proceed with Phase 2 of the hydroponic project from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality in the Netherlands. Gezondheid Farms selected lettuce and herb varieties to run trials as the fastest avenue to allow farm-to-table market opportunities to gain project momentum, visibility, and transparency.
With that success behind us, there is a need to provide other crops to market that may be more of a priority over lettuce. It’s time to consider providing locally grown tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, seedless watermelon, cantaloupes, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and Genovese basil as well into the community. Root crops like potatoes, carrots, beets, and cassava do not grow well in hydroponics, so those crop selections will stay varieties of crop production for other local soil-based farms located on Saba.
For the next four months, the existing concrete showroom facility will start running grow trials with the selection mentioned above of vine crops. The grow trials are essential to gather data on air temperatures, humidity levels, CO2 levels, and water quality related to nutrient mixtures that best grow these new varieties of crops in our tropical climate. All produce will be grown hydroponically on 4’x8’x8’ quick connect grow racks on wheels. We will transition crop production indoors to outdoors on concrete floors to conserve energy in fenced rectangular greenhouse frames with small hurricane-rated metal buildings available to wheel production into during bad weather events.
We will utilize the sun rays in specialized hydroponic systems on wheels with unique airflow systems to address high humidity issues, pests, and mold spores in the air with minimal electrical power needs from the farm. It’s a true hybrid system with the best of both worlds, sunlight utilizing computer-based food safety measures to ensure crop product year-round, non-stop.
We anticipate the greenhouse project to be completed within the next six months. As we await construction completion, Gezondheid Farms will utilize this time to collect the grow data of the new selection of vine-type crops. The lettuce crop will return along with other vine crops as soon as the small greenhouse is completed for use. The large greenhouse will quickly follow to increase crop yields to allow exports to our neighboring islands as we create 8+ good-paying local jobs to help sustain crop production on the island and in the region.
Gezondheid Farms encourages those with a passion for Saba sustainability to request a tour of the project to gain firsthand knowledge of the direction and focus of the project. Feel free to reach out to Jim@gezondheidfarms.com, call the farm at 416-2119, or WhatsApp Jim at +17752935567 to schedule a project tour and/or to answer any questions you may have. We would love to get to know you as you get to know us!