Finn Farms begins production at Babcock Ranch

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Jackie Winchester
Finn Farms, a one-of-a-kind prototype greenhouse in Southwest Florida, is now operating at Babcock Ranch. (Credit: WINK News)

From seeds to your table, there’s a one-of-a-kind prototype greenhouse in Southwest Florida.

The goal is to naturally grow produce year-round without fighting Florida’s humidity, and one company did it with 95% less water than traditional agriculture.

“This is controlled environment agriculture at its best,” said Oskari Kariste, founder and CEO of Finn Farms at Babcock Ranch.

What exactly does that mean? To break it down, the greenhouse is about the size of a soccer field. It can seed 60,000 plants a day and produce 1.5 million pounds of greens a year. That’s the same as 60 acres of open-field farming.

“This is totally the future of farming,” Kariste said.

He brought Finnish farming to Southwest Florida, dropping it in the heart of Babcock Ranch.

“What better way to do it than when you’re thinking about sustainability and innovation all at the same time,” said Syd Kitson, CEO and chairman of Kitson & Partners.

The $13 million greenhouse uses recycled rainwater and condensation from the plants. It takes 95% less water to keep these plants thriving compared to traditional farming.

The plants grow on 300-foot-long tables. Most are harvested in less than 30 days.

“You have to see taste and feel the production in your hands and we are able to show how premium our quality is,” Kariste said.

“It’s always local and fresh, I think that’s the key component.”

Finn Farms is negotiating with buyers to start selling its produce. Phase two of the project is expected to be double the size and include vertical farming.

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