Green Island freight farm grows salad greens year-round

March 17, 2017 07:10 PM

GREEN ISLAND - When you see as much white on the ground as we’ve gotten recently, you're probably not thinking about gardening. However, in Green Island, it doesn't matter what's happening on the outside. It's what on the inside that matters.

"What we're doing here is growing lettuce products right here in the Capital Region," explained Anthony Carioto, Carioto Produce president.

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Carioto got the idea from a company in Boston. It is the first and only freight farm in the state that provides year-round growing and its product doesn't depend on the elements. 

"We don't worry about the soil, how much rain, or if we have a drought. These are watered every single day," he noted.

There will be 200 lettuce seeds planted per tray. They will be watered and placed under LED lights for 18 hours a day for a week. Germination will take another two to three weeks and then the plants are transferred into 40-foot towers. A system of automated irrigation will keep the lettuce thriving and nothing is wasted.

"The water comes in. It is completely filtered on the way in. The water comes out of the mirrors down these towers and all of the plants are watered there. The water comes down on the bottom comes back into a 180 gallon tank and it's reused," pointed out Carioto.

At most, 4,500 hundred plants are harvested in about eight weeks’ time. 

Six varieties, green and red romaine, green and red butter lettuce, lolla rosa and baby red oak will get shipped to area restaurants and colleges like UAlbany and Union.

"I think a lot of people are really going for locally grown products," explained Carioto.

He has plans to purchase another five freights and wants to make the unit self-sustaining by using solar panels, creating a green business that produces fresh local green products right on Green Island.


WNYT Staff

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