In 2010, the founders of Scissortail Farms, Rob Walenta and John Sulton, realized that most of the leafy greens found in Tulsa’s produce sections came from California or Arizona.
They started looking into technologies that would help them produce locally grown vegetables that could get to the market in hours instead of days.
Scissortail Farms found the solution in aeroponic farming. Unlike conventional farms, aeroponic farms grow plants without soil.
In place of dirt, they use nutrient enhanced water to feed the plant all the minerals it needs.
Aeroponics stands apart from other forms of hydroponics because it uses less water. Instead of floating in a bin of water, the plant is suspended in a hollow tower with 43 of its buddies where its roots hang in the air and absorb water that rains down on them.
More plants can grow this way than one might expect. Right now, Scissortail Farms produces 9 types of lettuce, 14 different leafy greens and 10 separate herbs. Chief Operations Officer, Rob Walenta, said that his favorite product is sorrel.
The most popular products among Scissortail’s customers are their romaine and arugula.
In order to maintain a regular growing cycle all year round, Scissortail Farms needs a lot of equipment.
They have a large boiler system to keep the temperature steady, carbon dioxide generators to give the plants the air they need and lights to balance the amount of lighting the plants get during summer and winter.
Because they don’t have to worry about inclimate weather, they can sell at a regular price all year long.
Scissortail’s technology comes from Future Growing LLC, a company based in Central Florida.
The company has a patent on the towers and on the nutrient water that the plants use.
Aeroponic farming is not limited to leafy plants. Growing fruits and vegetables that flower is also possible, though more difficult.
In the future, Scissortail plans to expand so that they can produce a wider variety of food for Tulsa consumers.
You can find Scissortail produce at Reasor’s if you’re hungry.
Or if you have a lot of money just sitting around you could try starting your own aeroponic farm.
Although the executive officers couldn’t give us an exact amount of the initial investment, they assured us that this is not a business one should enter into lightly.
Scissortail Farms is still growing. They now have 12 employees and plan to triple their production area in the near future.
Aeroponic farming is more space-efficient, water-efficient and time-efficient than conventional farming, and doesn’t rely on genetically modified seeds or pesticides.
One employee said, “You know what you’re doing is going to better the community, and better society.”