Water-grown produce being raised at White Marsh

Bill Nachman - Posted on Dec 18, 2013 - 12:57 PM
Life Enrichment Sciences, LLC, opened for business in October on Hall Town Road, White Marsh. The business specializes in growing a variety of produce by aquaponics, a water-based system that doesn’t rely on dirt.
 
After building a series of wood/fiberglass/aluminum frame growing troughs, owners Andrew E. Gardiner and Benjamin J. Gorrell have erected them—and are building additional ones—for placement in their 3,000-square-foot greenhouse. The facility, which features three types of aquaponics, growing supported by a recirculating water system drawn from a well, also includes an adjacent workshop and office space.
 
The business is more than growing produce. Gardiner said that they are big on education and offer tours of the facility and hold workshops on this old growing technique, which he said, dates to ancient Egypt.
 
Joining them as an owner is Andrew’s father, Edward Gardiner, who is a science teacher at Ware Academy. All of the owners reside in Gloucester.
 
Gardiner said because the property where they are located is zoned Suburban Countryside (SC-1), they cannot have unscheduled, walk-in customers. But they can sell their produce to individuals if they schedule appointments and sell some of their locally-raised produce at the Farmer’s Daughter at Hayes and Kelsick Specialty Market in Gloucester.
 
They rely on fish to provide nutrients to feed plants in some of the troughs, Gorrell said, and also use small amounts of micronutrients to aid plant growth. But they offer produce grown without the usual pesticides and fertilizers often added to much farm-grown produce. He said their product is much fresher than what’s grown hundreds or thousands of miles away.
 
Besides individual customers, Gardiner said, they have lined up some deals with restaurants to supply them with fresh produce.
 
Among some of the food being grown there are watercress, arugula, peppers, tomatoes and lots of herbs. They have planted their first aquaponic apple tree and plan to add more vegetables and other fruits in the months to come.