While modern and urban gardeners have learned to “grow up” with rooftop and vertical gardens, making more efficient use of available real estate, those options still don’t solve the challenges of growing in the colder months that the Northeastern region of the United States is known for. Since we’ve seen farm-to-table bypass trendy and push into mainstream dining, growers and restaurateurs alike are looking for more sustainable ways to efficiently raise our food supply. If you heard that your city or region could grow produce in a low-maintenance environment that significantly cut its carbon footprint and reduced importation costs, wouldn’t you be game?
John Bolton, engineer-turned-hydroponic farmer was. Determined to develop a sustainable method for the greater Rochester area to enjoy pesticide-free, nutritious produce all year round, John conceived Bolton Farms, situated along the Rochester’s northwest area in Hilton.
John can be found every Sunday at the Brighton Farmers’ Market offering his vibrant tot soi, Swiss chard, watercress, broccoli and Russian kale. The rich taste of his produce is earthy and undeniably lively. But you better get there when the market doors open: John sells out nearly every week. If you’re not a cook but still want a taste, Rochester restaurants such as the slow food eatery Lento have found a place on their menus to feature John’s hydroponically raised produce.
We recently had a chance to catch up with John to learn more about how hydroponic farming is shaping the future of food in the greater Rochester area. Grab your copy of our November/December 2014 Holiday Issue to read Kath Dionese’s interview with John!
Photo by Lisa Barker