Shannon O'Malley and Brad Doyle, of Brick Street Farms, were very excited about the arrival of their newest addition to their facility. Shannon called and asked if we would be interested in seeing the arrival of the growing container, as she said, "it's quite a spectacle!" So on Tuesday, we went on site to check it out.
When we arrived there was a monstrosity of a crane on the property awaiting the arrival of the container.
As we were waiting for the container to arrive by truck, Shannon took us into one of their existing containers where they created a small horizontal growing area for their newest product - microgreens. Think - the pretty little greens that decorate your food. Apparently many of the restaurants in the area have to order their microgreens from across the country as not many farms grow them locally. Shannon said that they are able to provide restaurants microgreens locally for 50% less cost and no distribution or shipping costs. They only started growing them back in September of 2017 so this is a relatively new offering for them.
Currently Buya Ramen and Locale Market are buying their microgreens from Brick Street as they are trying to get the word out. They are growing Petite Sorrel, a Mirepiox Chef Mix, Petite Arugula, Kohlrabi, Micro Basil, Micro Radish and Pea Shoots. The new growing container is completely horizontal and they will be growing even more microgreens in it.
The microgreens are then harvested, inside in their work space, by cutting them and packaging them.
Also while waiting on the truck, the electricians were already at work digging the new electric lines for the container.
Finally the truck arrived with the 15,000 lb growing container. They buy these shipping containers used and build them out before it gets delivered to their site. Shannon said that this one container will increase their production by 30%, about 4,000 plants every 4 - 5 weeks which will help meet the demand from their current restaurants and also help them to increase consumer retail sales.
The truck had to back into the lot in order to deliver the crane. It was quite a process that took the driver three times to get right. View our video below too.
Once the truck is positioned properly under the crane, they prepare to lift it by connecting it to the crane.
Because the container was delivered backwards, with the door in the back, the crane had to rotate the container in mid air to position the side with the door to the front. Everyone was holding their breath.
Next the container had to be very carefully positioned precisely onto boards that were pre-laid down for each end.
The driver then gave Shannon & Brad the keys and he drove off.
As is Murphy's Law, there had to be some glitch. The key worked but the door was lodged shut and would not open.
They discovered that the container was misaligned and so they cut a small piece of wood that needed to be place under the right front foot. Thank god the crane was still there!
They lifted it just enough to position the wood.
And yes, now all is aligned and Shannon joyfully opens the door.
The inside of the container is huge! On Tuesday they hooked up electric and A/C, they will have plumbing by the end of the week, they will get the whole farm seeded this week and they will produce the first crop in about four weeks. It was fascinating to watch and to learn.
Local St Petersburg Hydroponic Farm