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Hydroponics bringing the farm to Denver with new market

DENVER (KDVR) — Lemon basil so fresh it tastes like Froot Loops, chocolate mint, orange thyme and 49 other plant varieties all grown from indoor vertical towers. This is just the start for Farm and Market, the new market and restaurant opening up in RiNo in mid-September.

The idea started in the winter when co-owner Davis Breedlove wanted to make his wife fresh romaine during the wintertime. After a trip to Home Depot, Breedlove made a hydroponic garden, which is a water-based system used to grow plants rather than soil. Once they felt the texture and tasted it, they knew they had to share it with everyone.

“Most produce loses 40% of their nutrients in the first three days after being harvested. Produce in the grocery stores, and no fault to the farmers it’s just the distribution system, is 21 to 28 days old,” said Breedlove. “By being able to grow it downtown and harvest each morning, it allows us to provide the highest nutrients, best tasting and highest quality produce to the people of Denver.”

Hydroponic farming can be done in many different ways. Farm and Market uses verticle towers to grow plants out of them. It uses a water filtration system that drips into the towers and waters the plants.

Once the plants are ready, Farm and Market will sell the herbs fresh off the tower each morning. The other half of the store is a restaurant that produces food with ingredients only made in-store.

Hydroponic farming isn’t just about taste and quality, it’s also more sustainable. Farm and Market use 90-95% less water than a traditional farm because they collect and refilter the water after it cycles through the plants, said Breedlove.

This is one of many places starting to use hydroponic farming in downtown Denver. Altius Farms in RiNo uses aeroponic farming, which is the same idea of using water instead of soil to grow plants. Edible Beats also uses a hydroponic system to provide downtown restaurants with fresh vegetables. Some of these restaurants include Linger, Ophelia’s, Vital Root and El Five.

“You never have to sort through the good items or the bad ones like in the grocery store. Everything is always the best quality, the best you can get anywhere in Denver,” said Breedlove.

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