Our philosophy is centered on our community. We support local growers and love that we are able to help their businesses flourish. We take great pride in partnering with these organizations to provide our customers and guests with their fresh, vibrant produce in LOCALE Market and FarmTable Kitchen.
Each month, LOCALE Market spotlights a purveyor providing fresh product to guests. Keep reading to find out which of our local suppliers is in the spotlight this month!
In 2013, Ed Chiles signed a long-term lease to operate Gamble Creek Farm on in Parrish, a 30 minute drive south of St. Petersburg on the east side of Tampa Bay. For Chiles, the chief executive officer of The Chiles Group and son of former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, the farm was a bet that area restaurants would support sustainable farming. The goal: To pick vegetables in the morning that are served at restaurant later that day.
Today, Gamble creek cultivates 15 acres of organic crops as well as hydroponic vegetables. Each November, the farm becomes a production house for botarga, the sun-cured roe of locally caught striped mullet. The rest of the fish is used as fertilizer.
“We’ve got to do these things because they are important and they speak to who we are,” he says. “They speak to what our values are.”
This farm operated by Robert Tornello in Ruskin, just south of Tampa, grows pesticide-free organic lettuce, herbs, tomatoes and other vegetables hydroponically. The farm also utilizes a rainwater catchment system to minimize the operation’s ecological impact, saving them from pumping thousands of gallons from the ground aquifer for irrigation.
All of their hydroponically grown produce is fueled by pure water from Blue Grotto Spring near Williston (outside Gainesville). The spring features a 100-foot-deep clear-water cave. The farm opened in January 2014 and features over a half-acre of hydroponic towers holding 20,000 plants. This year, they are laying free-range chicken eggs. In the next four years, they expect to harvest from apple, peach, plum, avocado, almond, fig, cherry and apricot trees.
Sandwiched between Clewiston and the edge of the Everglades, the farm operates on 2,500 acres, including 500 acres that are in organic production. Owner Chuck Obern founded the farm in 1986. Today, C&B produces more than 35 different vegetables and herbs. Obern also has implemented an on-site composting operation where he turns yard waste into a soil amendment that improves the water and nutrient retention of Florida’s naturally weak soil.