US (NJ): A microgreens farm grows in Asbury Park

On the other side of the tap room at Asbury Park Brewery, in a high-ceilinged industrial space with not a whiff of barnyard in the air, you’ll find a pair of brothers cultivating a thoroughly modern farm.

It’s soilless, it’s vertical, it’s pesticide-, herbicide-, fungicide- and insecticide-free, and its state-of-the-art LED technology lights the way to continual growth of microgreens ranging from arugula and spicy mustard to red Russian kale and amaranth.

The 2,500-square-foot space is called Good Feeling Farms, and it’s where Joe and Chris Chiappetta work to supply distributors who in turn bring their nutrient-rich, flavor-intense microgreens to top restaurants in the region.

“Every week, we sell about 70 to 75 pounds of microgreens,” Joe says. “Our model is that we sell to distributors only.” Distributors include New Jersey-based Cuttler Produce, Driscoll Foods, AgriExotica, J. Ambrogi and FarmArt, for example—and every week they start afresh with new crops of microgreens.

The brothers, who grew up in Basking Ridge, started farming in a basement in Belvidere, in the historic Apollo House, which was a station on the Underground Railroad.

The move from Warren County to Asbury Park allowed them not only to expand into an economically viable enterprise, but be part of the kind of community in need of an employment-providing farm.

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