Andrew Serio is an entrepreneur at heart, and he's found a niche that southeastern Minnesota can't get enough of - fresh greens and tomatoes grown in a year-round greenhouse! Through his efforts, research, engineering skill and quite a bit of trial and error, Serio Farms has succeeded with a hydroponic growing system that produces throughout the year.
We visited the farm to learn more of Serio's story. They are located near Preston, MN on a property that backs up to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park.
The two, four-season, hydroponic greenhouses supply Serio's own signature tomatoes, with green and red lettuce varieties, basil, and watercress filling out the remaining space. These products grow with reliable timing due to the controlled environment, but they are uniquely susceptible to damage because the root systems are all connected to the same water source! This requires careful planning and monitoring of every step of the growing process.
As the tomato vines grow, they are carefully wrapped around trellis twine and allowed to lay along the length of the building. The tomatoes mature and ripen with such precision that each plant can be woven in above its neighbors like overlapping ropes on a spool.
Serio Farms is celebrated at the market for providing year-round, consistent access to lettuce and tomatoes, and they've been featured by the Post-Bulletin in both the SUMMER and in the dead of WINTER! Serio plans to scale up in size to meet the demand from farmers market customers and local food businesses, restaurants, and caterers.
You can find Andy and his family at our markets throughout the year, and follow their story on Facebook.