Hidden Farms in Key West - Florida Keys Garden
The wildly diverse ecosystems of the Florida Keys can perhaps best be discovered in hidden gardens, tucked off main roads and the Overseas Highway throughout the 125-mile-long island chain.
While visiting Key West, I was looking for a salt farm but instead stumbled upon Tammy Germain’s microgreen farm, Florida Keys Garden. Hurricane Irma definitely took a toll from Big Pine Key to Key West. People had to reinvent themselves and so began Tammy’s microgreen farm.. Tammy’s concept started out as a wellness part of her personal life since she had skin cancer and has now become a full-time operational business supplying fourteen different restaurants around Key West.
Tammy initially grew these greens for herself and friends while working in the finance business of a local bank but after Irma, she decided to devote herself full time to growing microgreens as demand grew from friends to restaurants. She explained that microgreens are 30 - 40% nutrient dense. Those cute little greens that one sees sometimes as a garnish are actually even more nutritious than the whole leaf itself of kale, arugula, swiss chard etc.
Tammy has found a way as well to grow greens such as red acre cabbage, red Russian kale, arugula, purple basil, red beet greens and kohlrabi with no dirt using hemp or burlap harvesting up to 55 trays a week. She is trying to farm with as little dirt and water as possible therefore saving time and energy and has different types of farming such as a tower garden which is a vertical, aeroponic growing system that allows you to grow up to twenty vegetables, herbs, fruits or flowers.
She is planning on installing twenty of these tower systems up the road on another farming area to save space and ecology. Believe it or not, we ordinary folks can have one of these towers on our own deck or patio. Tammy showed me all sorts of items we can grow in these towers from celery to strawberries with no dirt, minimal water and in less than three square feet. Hum… this might make the perfect gift for the farmer to be in your family without having to dig up your whole yard. She makes them available for sale on her website at http://tammygermain.towergarden.com.
You can even visit the farm from 10-2 everyday and pick right off the towers, and also at Boondocks Market on Ramrod Key on Saturdays from 9am-1 pm.
So, eat those tiny greens that you find as a garnish as they are not just for decoration but more important than you think.
30770 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key, Florida 33043, United States