Pick lucious berries at Sugar Hill Farm

By | June 28, 2005 12:00 am

Jody Sliger
After years of working construction, leading a church family and working in various other jobs, Randy and Angie White decided to try their hand at something different-hydroponics gardening.
So, out of that decision grew Sugar Hill Farms, located on Sugar Hill Drive just off Hickory Valley Road, and the strawberries are ready.
Hydroponics gardening is an alternative way to grow vegetables and plants. Hydro means water and ponics means work, so together this is a system where the water does the work for growing plants. The water is combined with the proper portion of nutrients needed by the plants, but without the damaging chemicals. The idea of hydroponics gardening is to skip the complicated exchange of chemicals to soil, then from soil to plant, like just doing away with the middleman and issues that can be associated with an extra step.
“We don’t even use chlorinated water, no chemicals or pesticides,” said Angie. “These are all-natural.”
“This year we will have lots of strawberries, watermelons, cantaloupe, yellow and zucchini squash, tomatoes and beans,” said Randy. “We will be adding more fruits and vegetables in the next few years.”
Varieties are chosen with quality being top priority.
“This variety of berry is solid red, all the way through,” said Randy, “The plants are given exactly the nutrients they need and nothing else.”
The 20,000 plants will produce approximately 60,000 pounds of produce. Hydroponics offers use of maximum productivity with minimum space.
“We took a vacation and visited a farm in Florida to check out the set-up,” said Randy. “Then after contacting the man who set that farm up, we went to his farm.
“The company that set us up have been in business for 30 years. They have determined which varieties grow best. And there is not another like it in the state of Tennessee.”
This company has built more than 200 of these efficient and successful farms worldwide. Using the right variety with the special formulated moisture has made this a successful venture even in desert climates.
The growing season lasts from May to November with everything from flowers to ‘dinner-time’ vegetables and several varieties of fruit. “We want to give Sparta a quality product,” said Randy, “We want to supply Sparta a product free of pesticides and all-natural. You pick it so, you can choose the exact ones you want.”
One feature offered at Sugar Hill Farms is the ability for customers to stand up and pick the berries.
“Everyone seems to very excited about that,” said Angie. “Some people have had to give up picking their own berries because they can’t get down anymore. This system makes it easy.”
Growing more products in smaller space is another advantage of hydroponics.
“We will be growing 12 acres of produce on one and one-half acre,” said Randy.
Sugar Hill Farms is open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday, and from 2-4:30 p.m., Sundays.

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