August 27, 2019 News & Features » Cover Story

Favorite

Babylon Micro-Farms 

Modular hydroponic units help chefs grow fresh produce

click to enlarge feat35_babyalon.jpg

Fresh produce doesn’t always travel well. Delicate, perishable items like greens and herbs are especially vulnerable to damage during packaging and shipping, and they lose flavor during the stretch between picking and plating.

Babylon Micro-Farms, a Charlottesville-based startup making inroads in Richmond, wants to ease that burden for food service providers with automated indoor hydroponic systems.

Each clear, cabinetlike unit contains four shelves and sets of pre-seeded trays. Customers, who pay $600 a month for the all-inclusive service, select the produce they want and simply follow directions via the app, which alerts them when to transplant and harvest. Cameras inside each unit allow Babylon staff to identify any problems and adjust the settings accordingly from afar, negating the need for a horticultural expert on-site. Greens, herbs and edible flowers are currently available, and peppers, tomatoes and berries are coming soon.

“Some things may not do that well outside because they’re very susceptible to pests or to weather, but when you control their entire environment you can grow them very successfully,” says its chief operations officer, Marc Oosterhuis. “We’re growing it at the point of sale, at the point of consumption. People are really harvesting just prior to serving.”

Babylon installed a farm at Hatch Kitchen earlier this year, and the company is in discussion with Richmond restaurants, hotels and other food service providers in the area. A smaller unit for homes is also in the works. — Laura Ingles

Back to The Innovation Issue
Favorite

Tags:

Latest in Cover Story

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Connect with Style Weekly

Most Popular Stories

  • On the Road to Keysville

    On the Road to Keysville

    The second installment in our local travel series ventures 70 miles south to Charlotte County and Keysville, a slow town with helpful residents and high hopes for the future.
    • Aug 3, 2021
  • GUEST COMMENTARY: Defining Goals

    GUEST COMMENTARY: Defining Goals

    Some thoughts and theory on race relations among activists.
    • Aug 3, 2021
  • Off the Beaten Path

    Off the Beaten Path

    A runner and lifelong lover of the James River captures evocative images of the park system in photo book.
    • Jul 27, 2021
  • Deep Dive

    Deep Dive

    A writer attempts to find the best dive bars in town.
    • Jul 13, 2021
  • More »

Copyright © 2021 Style Weekly
Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
All rights reserved
Powered by Foundation