Big City Farms
May 5, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Big City Farms
As supporters of the "buy local movement" have gotten to know the local farmers who grow their food, a curious phenomenon has emerged. Not all farmers work on farms. At least classic farms, as we think of them. One operation that Chef Jerry Pellegrino has know for many years is a great example of "urban farming."
Big City Farms is the name, and executive field manager Anthony Dye was our guest. Big City Farms got going in 2011, capitalizing on the emergence of "hoop houses" as a practical means of extending the growing season in Maryland.
Hoop houses, or "high tunnels," are elongated structure made from big metal half-hoops that support a thin plastic covering. They heat the soil and air passively and require not additional source of heat. Farmers either erect them over prepared ground or over, say, an asphalt parking lot covered with built up beds.
Big City Farms has three locations, covering a total of about 5 acres of land. The home location is near the north end of the Hanover Street Bridge. They have other locations in Sandtown and Leakin Park.
The focus at Big City Farms is salad greens, which they can keep in production nearly all year long. As Jerry can attest, restaurants as demanding as Waterfront Kitchen gladly bought up Big City Farms produce and thrived on it.
In addition to a full selection of salad greens, they will be working with several varieties of heirloom tomatoes over the summer.
If you want to try their excellent produce, you can find them at the Waverly Farmers Market year-round on Saturday mornings, and at the Sunday Baltimore market under 83 April through November.