It looks like some kind of a crazy laboratory straight out of the future. It turns out that Dover’s Doug Wood is the mad scientist behind all those large blue barrels bubbling with water and fish that are the key ingredients to growing four types of organic produce.
Inside the warm environment of a greenhouse that sits just off Del. 1 and the Simms Woods Road overpass in north Dover, Mr. Wood is in the process of starting up his 302 Aquaponics business, which will eventually harvest four types of organic lettuces, tilapia (fish) and local honey from beehives.
While Mr. Wood also has a traditional farm that sits just down the road, it is his new business that focuses on producing greens in water that has him excited. With more than 15,000 square feet of available space inside his greenhouse, which will make his business the largest commercial Aquaponics greenhouse in Delaware, things are really starting to take off.
“I bought a greenhouse from a guy who used to sell flowers in Smyrna. He just got out of it. It was a hoop building,” Mr. Wood said. “I put it out on my farm up the street and was doing hydroponics — working with tubing and building all kinds of stuff myself, drilling holes in four-inch pipe, and I did it that way and introduced fertilizer in a liquid form. That’s straight up hydroponics.
“Then I was messing around and said, ‘I want some fish,’ because I didn’t want to use synthetic fertilizer or man-made products, so I got interested in the fish (tilapia) being the fertilizer and it was a hobby that kind of turned into, ‘let’s try this as a commercial venture.’ It was a hobby that will hopefully become a big commercial business.”