222: Heather Szymura on Hydroponic Container Farming.
Growing limited-season crops year-round regardless of climate extremes.
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After 15 years in the corporate business world and a degree in Global Business Marketing, Heather decided it was time for a shift. She resigned from her position at UPS, went back to school to pursue a degree in Naturopathic Medicine and at the same time delved more into her hobby of urban farming. It was in here that she found her life’s passion unearthing the amazing benefits growing herbs and veggies.
Her business, Twisted Infusions, became a reality in 2016 when the container farm arrived on their doorstep! They sell non-GMO, pesticide free, hydroponically grown lettuce, kale and herbs! Now, being a farmer and business owner is Heather’s full time job.
She and Brian, her husband and best friend, live in Glendale, Arizona with their two children, Killian and Mary. Throw in two snakes, a pink tarantula, a bearded dragon, and a leopard gecko and that’s the Szymura family.
In This Podcast: We meet Heather who decided to change directions away from a professional one towards one more in tune with nature and healing and to her surprise ended up becoming a farmer! She is selling lettuce and kale she is growing year-round in the suburbs near Phoenix and tells Greg how she is doing that in a shipping container in her backyard.
Listen in and learn about:
- Changing her life and making a difference in her husband’s health
- The 40-foot-long container that they are using for their farming
- They have 256 towers running on 10 gallons of water a day, and is estimated to produced 2.1 tons of leafy greens or 80-100 lbs of lettuce per week
- Why she is growing so many different types of lettuce and the response she is getting from her restaurant customers
- How she manages the temperature and electricity for her system
- Why she can keep her lettuces growing all year round and what that means for restaurants in Phoenix
- A description of how her farm is set up and why she only grows on one side of the towers
- The reason why she chose to start with this system
- The experience that she had when getting the system set-up
- The first crop and some of the learning hurdles they worked through to get it
- How she found the Freight Farm company and what it was like working with them
- Expanding to other vegetables and what she would like to try
- The nutrient density of hydroponic vegetables
- How the crops are started and what the difference is between growing in a hydroponic system versus growing in the soil
As well as:
- Her failure – The time she lost her entire strawberry patch and why she has learned so much from it
- Her success – She loves growing super-hot peppers and she can grow everything she needs for her husband’s salsa
- Her drive – education and sharing knowledge with others
- Her advice – Get out there and farm, grow your own food and enjoy it
Heather’s Book recommendations:
Between a Rock and a Hard Place– by Aron Ralston
How to reach Heather:
Facebook: Twisted Infusion Farms