Kaufman lettuce farm around Ottawa quadrupled in size

OTTAWA — A gamble nearly 20 several years in the past by 1 neighborhood farmer has paid off in the variety of one of the region’s premier hydroponic farms.

Bryan Kaufman, 42, opened Kaufman’s Hydroponics on Road O around Ottawa in 2003 as an exertion to do something distinct in area agriculture. The son of a community farm household, Kaufman is now the premier bibb lettuce delivered in the Lima region, supplying schools and area eateries with fresh, natural and organic lettuce calendar year-round.

“We started off with hydroponic tomatoes in 2003, then we switched to all bibb lettuce in 2005. Lettuce has been a steadier crop,” Kaufman claimed. “We started off with 1 greenhouse, and we just stored adding.”

Doing the job with his spouse and young children, Kaufman now manages 4 greenhouses — each and every 22 toes large by 130 feet lengthy — exactly where the family grows bibb lettuce employing hydroponics, a escalating approach additional normally connected with hashish but utilized in vegetable operations around the earth.

Hydroponic farming, Kaufman explained, requires only making use of drinking water — no soil — which feeds plant root programs with the important nutrients by means of a pumping or drip procedure. The planting type has develop into a lot more well known in the earlier two many years as new rising techniques are explored and produced by the agriculture field.

“The main motive we determined on hydroponics is simply because you can increase your crop year-spherical,” Kaufman reported. “You can command the setting, use no pesticides. Places to eat truly like that these times.”

The lettuce grown by Kaufman and his spouse and children is principally sold to 12 neighborhood dining establishments, such as the Kewpee eating places in Lima, as effectively as local educational facilities and Cash College in Columbus.

Having into the hydroponics farming business was a alter of rate for Kaufman, who graduated significant school in 1998 and was working at a local grain elevator before he made a decision to instruct himself the ins and outs of hydroponic agriculture.

“I studied every little thing on the web and read through textbooks and taught my moms and dads, also. It was a studying system,” he stated. “I’m trying to train my kids now the ins and outs. My oldest son, he is in fifth quality, has questioned to find out it.”

The household very first grew natural beef steak tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, but Kaufman explained that was a tough endeavor for a variety of good reasons. By 2005, the business reverted exclusively to bibb lettuce.

That improve has led to sudden good results, he mentioned, as the farm exploded in both of those business enterprise and dimensions above the yrs given that going to all lettuce in 2005.

“I’m thrilled to dying with where I am proper now (as a company),” Kaufman said. “I hardly ever believed I’d be where by I am right now. I’d like to develop more (vegetables) and expand… spread it to the following era and search into a little something extra than lettuce.”

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Bryan Kaufman ideas on passing down the relatives organization, which started off 21 decades in the past by his moms and dads, Henry and Jane Kaufman. Bryan and his children, from left, Brynlee, Will and Grant verify out the lettuce in one particular of the numerous rows at the greenhouse.

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Heads of hydroponic lettuce that are just about completely ready for harvest can be witnessed at Kaufman’s Hydroponics in Ottawa.

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Bryan Kaufman grows about 95,000 heads of bibb lettuce each individual year at Kaufman’s Hydroponics in Ottawa.

Reach Jeff Forward at 567-242-0391.

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