When you first think of a farm, you might picture sprawling crops, a red barn, and livestock – a postcard direct from the Midwest. But for Fern Farm in Warwick, growing looks very different.
“We’re not your typical farm with tractors, cows, and acres of fields,” says Jen Tanner, who owns the farm alongside husband Jason Santos. “Our products are grown all year round indoors using vertical stations with proper indoor air quality control.”
Fern Farm specializes in microgreens, which are vegetable greens harvested just after the stems and leaves develop. These younglings have up to 40 percent more nutrients than matured veggies, and are widely known as a superfood in addition to adding color and flair to a dish. “They make everything more beautiful and healthy,” says Tanner, who adds the couple often uses them for smoothies, salads, soups, and even cocktails. “We tell everyone they can make even a hotdog or bagel look fancy with no effort,” she jokes. “Talk about a garnish game!”
Initially, microgreens were a way to extend the farm’s growing season into the cold months; today, it’s what sets the farm apart. It starts with an organic growing base and non-GMO seeds, then proper lighting and air quality climate control is key. On a daily basis, Santos wakes up at 4am to harvest the orders being delivered that day: “We do this because local food is fresher and better for you,” explains Tanner. “The shorter the time from our farm to your table, the less likely the nutrients are to be lost.”
It’s the tables Fern Farm delivers to that matters most to the couple, who love cultivating relationships with each customer, whether they’re a parent looking to add nutrition to their children’s diet, a small retail store, or a local restaurant looking to use fresh ingredients. Fern Farm also hosts pop-ups and food drives, plans to open a roadside vegetable stand with “a few surprises”, and routinely offers all-natural life hacks, recipes, and more on their social media pages. “Most importantly,” says Tanner, “we want people to believe during challenging times that you cannot only survive, but thrive.”
Learn more about the benefits of microgreens, Fern Farm, and a special project to benefit a local homeless shelter in January by visiting Facebook and Instagram @fernfarm55.