A Different Kind of Farm

1 decade 10 months 3 weeks ago Monday, July 23 2007 Jul 23, 2007 Monday, July 23, 2007 1:04:22 PM CDT July 23, 2007 in News

Homegrown Paradise owner Charlie Deimeke doesn't think there is anything cuter than a four-year-old on a hunt for the biggest, juiciest strawberry.

"I particularly enjoy all the little ones that come out with a white shirt and leave with a pink shirt!" Charlie said.

"I'm going to go show my Mom how much I got," said Grant Norfleet.

Homegrown Paradise has only been open for one year, but its already popular for one specific reason.

"I don't have to bend over to pick," said Phyllis Schoening, strawberry picker. "They're always such nice berries because they aren't on the ground."

"You'll never pick strawberries off the ground again," said Jo Veta Deimeke, Homegrown Paradise owner.

There farm is a hydroponic farm. It essentially means the strawberries are grown without dirt. Instead, they're grown in a mixutre of perlite, a volcanic glass, and the mineral vermiculite.

"Some people have come here skeptical - the myth that they're not growing in the dirt they don't have any taste, and they usually leave with a different feeling," Charlie said.

"Last year, I asked what are they doing?" said Lewis Baumgartner, strawberry picker. "Somebody said it will be a strawberry farm, and I thought how can that be a strawberry farm in that old poor clay ground. And, I'm amazed at what this has turned into."

Combine the ancient Egyptian system of hydroponics with vertical pots, and picking strawberries becomes a whole new experience. One Charlie was eager to try.

"There's not a real good way to tell your wife you want to quit your job and grow strawberries in a styrofoam pot," Charlie said.

"I said okay," Jo Veta said. "So, about six weeks later, he had all this stuff purchased and here we were putting it together."

One year later, its a hit. Homegrown Paradise is open Tuesday through Sunday.

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