Tiger Corner Farms' aeroponic farming systems prove that eating farm to table is not some halcyon, hippie dream. In fact, TCF, local farmers Vertical Roots, and Dockery's on Daniel Island take the dream to an even sweeter reality. They provide diners with container-to-table leafy greens, grown a stone's throw from the restaurant's dining room.
Last night at Lowcountry Local First's May mixer, LLF members and first-timers were treated to the coolest science fair this side of sixth grade. With Dockery's in-house brews flowing, mixers mingled with Tiger Corner Farms, Vertical Roots, and Boxcar Central — the software development company that provides the integrated platform sensors, controllers, and business software to the indoor farming market — employees. The lettuce that Dockery's uses in their salads, from arugula to butter lettuce, is grown by Vertical Roots in TCF containers run by Boxcar Central software. Pretty neat, huh?
We first learned about (and geeked out over) TCF last spring when we wrote an article on the aeroponic container farms for our Dirt issue. TCF general manager Stefanie Swackhamer, a former Latin teacher lacking a traditional ag background but possessing some serious business savvy, told us then that the end goal of creating and selling these containers is that a customer — be it a restaurant, a University, a hospital, or maybe even just a family — would ask "how do we grow blank?"
And Swackhamer could answer with "here's the framework, if you want bok choy you need to use this light integral, for arugula set these CO2 levels.' We're taking the automation of an algorithm and breaking it down."
With three local companies working so symbiotically, producing fresh produce for a new, local restaurant, you've got a new incentive to visit Daniel Island. Years from now, you'll be able to say you witnessed the future of farming at its nascence. And you'll get to sip on some pretty solid brews, too.