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US (OH): A look inside an aquaponics operation

Hidden from prying eyes and tucked beneath a four-story steel and concrete parking garage in the heart of downtown Toledo sits the most unlikely of things — a farm.

But this one has no tractors, silos, or scarecrows.

Go inside Balance Farms, an 8,168-square foot high-tech aquaponics operation located on the first floor of the Tower on the Maumee’s parking garage on Summit Street, and you will find multiple rows of tall racks filled with herbs and leafy greens that are growing robustly in black plastic trays.

Mr. Karamchandani and his business partner, HoChan Jang, co-own the Balance restaurant chain, which they founded in 2010 on a premise of tangy and exotic flavors using the freshest ingredients possible.

But Mr. Jang, the chain’s executive chef, menu planner, and in-house foodie, grew increasingly frustrated that his meal planning and menu experimentation was limited by his produce suppliers.

So in mid-2016 the two began investigating a way to get the freshest ingredients, in large quantities, and at the exact time when those ingredients would be needed.

Their $715,000 solution was an aquaponics farm adjacent to their downtown Toledo restaurant.

Read more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Jon Chavez)


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