LEE COUNTY, Fla.- It's anything but traditional, but Buckingham's new hydroponic farm promises picture-perfect produce grown above ground.
"You're actually feeding each plant, per say through an IV. You're giving that plant exactly what it needs to grow better, bigger, healthier vegetables," General Manager Rick Trapp said Thursday.
Each pod will hold 20 individual plants, dripping precise amounts of water and nutrients down the vertical stack. The method requires only 10% of the normal water needed for farming, while pumping out more produce.
"You're getting on one acre, 25 acres worth of vegetables coming out of there," Trapp said.
Several greenhouses are also under construction. Tomatoes will be grown inside year-round, thanks to a shield that will protect them from winter freezes and summer's extreme heat.
Squash, strawberries, lettuce and peppers will take root on the Orange River Blvd farm. Also planned- a peach orchard, using a variety developed by the University of Florida and Texas A&M.
"The Georgia peach needs more chill, more cold weather to do well. These are not the Georgia peach, but a very close relative. They are designed for the tropics and semi-tropics," Stephen Brown of the University of Florida's Lee County Extension said Thursday.
Developers plan to open the U-Pick stand in November, with hopes of refueling interest in an age-old practice.
"Buckingham has a history of being old school farm-style. We're just taking that old-school farm style to a new level," Trapp said.
Buckingham Farms plans to sell the majority of their produce on site when they open November 1st. They are located at 12931 Orange River Blvd.