We took a tour of the farm with Dr. Howard Resh, the manager of the farm and the organic gardens on the property.
(Photos from CuisinArt)
The greenhouse is 18,000 square feet and the humidity hits you like a brick wall when you walk in. With all the water (the farm has 2 ponds) and plants, it's really really really...REALLY humid and hot. It felt like it was 1000 degrees in there.
Thankfully they gave us water.
But you walk in and are immediately surrounded by vegetables. To the left, lettuce. Straight ahead, tomatoes. To the right, lettuce as far as you can see.
Dr. Resh explained how the farm works and gave us a quick rundown on hydroponic farming and then walked us through the rest of the farm. For more info on hydroponic farming, go here.
Although it was about 100 degrees and ridiculously humid inside, we stayed for about 40 minutes. Dr. Resh showed us the lettuce, peppers, tomatoes (and even let us taste the tomatoes!), herbs, microgreens, and cucumbers. Dr. Resh said that with hydroponic farming, since you aren't dependent on a growing season, vegetables and fruits grow quickly. REALLY fast. So quickly that they send tons and tons of fresh vegetables over to the resort for daily use. There were so many herbs that needed to be harvested and used that the spa (which is FANTASTIC, by the way) uses them in their scrubs and treatments. And the bars and restaurants are constantly coming up with different ways to use the fruits and veg. (We had a tomatotini one of the first nights at the resort...let's just say that tomatoes should only be included in bloody marys. Not martinis.)
Dr. Resh was a great tour guide for the farm, and it was awesome to see the resort growing its own food instead of bringing it in from one of the other islands.
I wish I had my own little hydroponic farm! The best part was that Dr. Resh said growing your own mini-version of a hydroponic farm is easy. I really wanted to come home and start our own little hydroponic garden for tomatoes or microgreens or something...but I got cold feet. The last tomato plant, affectionately nicknamed Junior, died after Steve and I went to the Florida Keys for a few days. And then the peace lily we had after that also, um, died of its own accord.
So I'm a little gunshy about raising plants.