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It’s #WorldWaterDay! 

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Today is #WorldWaterDay, and we wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the water-saving initiatives that we will be introducing at the new BSF Hub. This updated model will be self-producing the water that we need to operate. The primary water source for the Hub will be the HVAC water discharge (condensation), second is a rainwater catchment system (collecting rainwater), third is reclaimed nutrient water periodically flushed from recirculating feeding tanks, and the final back-up source will be municipal supplied water. With this system, we are diligently working to get as close as possible to a zero-water discharge system. Our model will vastly reduce the water discharge by 90%, compared with traditional agricultural farming. ♻️

Brick Street Farms Hubs are Going Solar!

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The mission of Brick Street Farms has always been to make
the world a better, more food secure place. Our farm hubs have
allowed us to grow 48 acres worth of produce on a 1/3 of an acre
piece of property. This has allowed us to provide fresh, local produce
to residents and businesses in the Tampa Bay area.

However, we believe there is always room to be developing
and changing in this ever-evolving world. With this in mind, Brick
Street Farms is pleased to announce that we have partnered with
BYOSolar to take our urban farm hubs to a whole new level of
sustainable farming. Beginning in Summer 2022, our farm hubs will
not only be sustainable food sources, but with the help of solar
panels, will be energy efficient as well.

Each grow hub will be outfitted with a
compact, individualized power plant or solar
panels. This will not only provide power to the
grow hubs, but through the design and placement
of the panels, rainwater will be collected, filtered,
and used to water the plants inside. This unique
design allows our grow hubs to function as sustainable, renewable farm plots.

We believe that through our partnership with
BYOSolar, Brick Street Farms will become a community
leader in providing a sustainable, environmentally
conscious method of food production. It’s time to eat
like the planet depends on it!

 

Valentine’s Day Bouquets

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Starting this Saturday afternoon, you can purchase Valentine’s Day bouquets for that special someone right here at the BSF Market! Our flowers will be provided by Life Farms, an organic urban farm located in Clearwater, FL. Bouquets will be $20 each and will include eucalyptus, sunflower, listanthium, jumbo billy ball, stock, statice, queen anne’s lace, goliath fern, and snap dragons. They will be available to purchase in-store or online for local pickup. Be sure to swing by and get your bouquet while supplies last!

5 Reasons to Incorporate Fermented Foods in Your Diet

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5 REASONS TO INCORPORATE FERMENTED FOODS IN YOUR DIET 

AUTHOR: Sarah Subrize

So what is fermentation?

Fermentation is an ancient technique for preserving food and drinks where microorganisms like bacteria use microbial and enzymatic actions to convert sugars and starch into other compounds such as lactic acid or alcohols.  Fermenting food not only boosts the food’s shelf life and nutritional value but has been associated with a range of health benefits and can give your body a dose of healthful probiotics! Fermentation is used in many food production methods that you will learn about below.

BENEFITS OF EATING FERMENTED FOODS:

They preserve food.

Lacto-fermentation allows you to store these foods for longer periods of time without losing the nutrients.

Improves digestive heath and makes food easier to digest

Probiotics produced during fermentation may help restore balance of the good bacteria in your gut and this may alleviate some digestive problems if eaten consistently. It is often suggested that people add in fermented foods to their diet if they regularly experience gut issues.

Fermentation also helps break down nutrients in food, making them easier to digest. For example, people who have difficulty digesting lactose in milk products may have an easier time when it is fermented into high quality yogurt, kefir or some cheeses because the lactose is partially broken down into a more digestible form.

Some plants contain compounds that reduce the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients. Fermentation helps break down and destroy these compounds— such as phytates, tannins and lectins. This reduction in those compounds also helps increase the bioavailability of some dietary nutrients particularly B vitamins and calcium.

They bump up the nutrition:

Eating fermented foods will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. Probiotics especially have also been shown to help improve bowel health, aid digestion, and improve immunity!

Some plants contain compounds that reduce the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients. Fermentation helps break down and destroy these compounds— such as phytates, tannins and lectins. This reduction in those compounds also helps increase the bioavailability of some dietary nutrients particularly B vitamins and calcium.

They taste great.

Most fermented foods have a unique flavor to them that foodies love: a little sour and savory. The process can totally change the flavor of the vegetable. For instance, many people don’t like radishes because of their strong earthy taste and bite, but those tastes become subdued once the radish is fermented.

Play around with different fermented foods because they bring unique flavors to a dish, flavors you might not normally experience.

Takeaway:

Regular consumption of fermented products, such as yogurt and kombucha, may improve digestion, help improve gut health, and get you experimenting in the kitchen with new flavors!

Shop our collection of fermented foods from St. Pete Ferments & assorted kombuchas.

SELL US YOUR PRODUCE!

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Do you have a unique fruit tree or other produce growing in your yard? We’d love to buy from you! All you have to do is pick them and bring them in to the BSF Market. One of our associates will review and select the ones that we will purchase, which will then be priced by the pound using a 3rd party market wholesale pricing website. It’s that simple! We are always looking for starfruit, avocado, grapefruits, and other seasonal items. Swing by the BSF Market during business hours to learn more!

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BSF GREENS & TRADITIONAL GREENS? 

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WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BSF GREENS & TRADITIONAL GREENS?

AUTHOR: Sarah Subrize

The differences between shopping at Brick Street Farms and buying your food from a nearby grocery store may be a longer list than you think. It’s a given that Brick Street Farms greens taste better if you’ve ever tried them compared to anything you can get from the grocery store shelves, but there are many other differences you may not have thought of.  There are so many meaningful benefits of buying your greens from Brick Street Farms instead of another big box store or grocery chain. Let me explain:

You know exactly where your greens are coming from at BSF and how it is grown:

Most grocery stores are part of much larger chains, with hundreds or even thousands of stores across the country. Because of this, it’s difficult as a customer to know exactly where your produce originates, or even what region or state it is being shipped from, let alone know who grew or harvested it. At Brick Street Farms you walk past where the greens are being grown when you shop in the store or know it hasn’t traveled far if eating the greens at the local partner restaurants.

Also, BSF has growing greens down to a science and has perfected the growing conditions in their urban farm hubs so they can grow 365 days a year. This means their produce is always in season and always with peak nutrition and taste. Grocery store greens however do not come from the same sustainable practices nor can give the same benefits.

You know the greens are fresher.

This is a no-brainer. The greens are picked from the hubs, packaged, and placed in the farm store right next door for you to enjoy. They also travel no more than a 30-mile delivery radius to restaurant and store partners. When shopping at your local grocery store, however, it is nearly impossible to determine how long the greens have been sitting out or how long or far they have traveled. Between transport and shipping (most of the time from other states and countries) grocery store produce is often at least several days old before it is even available for purchase. This is a night and date difference from the produce grown by Brick Street Farm which goes from harvest to destination within 24 hours!

You know your greens are cleaner.

Let’s use a head of romaine as an example here. When shopping at traditional grocery stores, your head of romaine can encounter all kinds of surfaces.  It starts with being picked and packaged, and then travels throughout the country. Once it’s placed in the produce section at the store, think about the number of children, and even adults, every single day that touches the head of lettuce barehanded. Now at Brick Street Farms that head of romaine goes straight from being picked right to the package where you can pick up fresh with no worry of contamination. Brick Street also does not use pesticides, chemicals, or have any risk of bugs.

You get to support a local business and community.

Buying greens from Brick Street Farms allows you to support a growing local business, as well as support specialty grocers and restaurants throughout Central Florida and Tampa Bay. Regular grocery store greens do not offer the same.

Takeaway

Go pick up your local BSF greens today and see the differences for yourself!

IMPORTANCE OF EATING LOCAL AND SEASONAL PRODUCE

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IMPORTANCE OF EATING LOCAL AND SEASONAL PRODUCE

AUTHOR: Sarah Subrize

Each season brings its own energy. The softness and brightness of spring to the sweetness and lightness of summer, to the celebration of fall and the slowing down comfort of winter.  Regardless of where you are located, even in Florida you can still feel these shifts in “seasons” even if they are not as dramatic elsewhere in the US or world.

If you’ve ever bitten into an out of season peach in the middle of winter compared to a local peach in it’s prime, you’ve probably had a hard time ignoring the fact that in-season produce is a treat for the taste buds and often the latter is rather disappointing. Regardless, due to advancements in modern agriculture and international imports you can find just about any fruit or vegetable you have on your grocery list year-round in North America. Having access to all fruits and veggies all year long isn’t all negative but eating with the seasons comes with a host of benefits. Seasonal and local food is naturally fresher, tastier, and more nutritious than food consumed out of season or shipped from far away. It also reduces your carbon footprint and helps you form a connection with your local community.

Here are some of the best reasons to eat by the seasons and as locally as possible:

Locally grown food is full of flavor.

Most people will agree that nothing tastes better than fresh locally grown tomatoes or strawberries picked in their prime of spring or early summer. There is no argument that they are much more flavorful and even sweeter than the ones you buy at the supermarket year-round. Compare a dark red, vine-ripened tomato still warm from the summer sun with a winter hothouse tomato that’s barely red, somewhat mealy, and lacking in flavor.

When transporting crops larger distances, they must be harvested pre-ripeness and refrigerated so they don’t rot during transportation. They may not ripen as effectively as they would in their natural environment and as a result, they don’t develop their full flavor.

Local, in-season foods retain more nutrients.

Produce grown locally has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, has traveled and sits in distribution centers before it even gets to your place of purchase.

It is better for the environment.

Think about it: How far did the asparagus, pear, or bag of greens you bought at your local grocery store travel before it was stocked on the shelves?

Most of us give little thought to the effects of this long-distance travel on not only the nutritional value of our food and the costs but also the environmental impact, including fuel emissions. Imported fruits and vegetables travel way further than produce grown locally, they also cause greater harm from carbon emissions and pollution for produce arriving by air, ship or by truck. A more mind-blowing detail is that more than half of the fresh fruit and almost a third of the fresh vegetables Americans buy now come from other countries. 1

Buying what is local is a great way to eat seasonally. Plus, these foods don’t have to travel nearly as far, so the associated fuel emissions and transportation costs are minimal. Sticking to local produce can be a great way to help discover what is in season near you. And this combination of seasonal plus local is better for the environment.

It allows for connection to and support of our communities.

When you can meet and speak with the people that grow your food or at least visit a market where you can purchase the produce brings you one step closer to the root of it all and creates a much more inspired energy around the food. Think of it in a way that the energy you receive from the food not only comes from the earth via nutrients, but the energy it took the people tending to and growing the produce. You do not get that kind of connection sorting through mini mountains of produce at the grocery stores. Shopping local and coincidentally seasonally creates a renewed sense of connection to the community in which you live.

Purchasing locally grown foods also helps support the livelihoods of our local farms and farmers. Simply put, the money you spend on products from local farmers and growers stays in the community and is reinvested with other local businesses. In addition, food grown locally, processed locally, and distributed locally (for example, to local restaurants and stores) generates jobs and subsequently helps stimulate our micro economies.

The takeaway:

We often take it for granted that we can eat fresh berries in February or have mini mountains of avocados stocked in the stores year-round not even thinking twice to where it came from or how it got from the “farms” to our plates. Many of us have no clue when fruits and veggies are in season where we live.

Knowing what is in season, and eating to match that, is important. Choosing in-season, locally grown produce when possible has been shown to have numerous benefits for your health, community, and environment. Explore your local markets today!

BENEFITS TO INCORPORATING MICROGREENS INTO YOUR DIET

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BENEFITS TO INCORPORATING MICROGREENS INTO YOUR DIET

AUTHOR: Sarah Subrize

Microgreens are well known for being beautiful garnishes to finish plating a meal, but they have so many benefits other than just being aesthetically pleasing.

Microgreens are young vegetable greens, specifically seedlings harvested in the primary stage of their growth and are usually harvested 7–21 days after germination, once the plant’s first true leaves have emerged.

These small but mighty baby vegetables and herbs add a splash of color and texture to dishes. They can be incorporated into salads, sandwiches, wraps, make vibrantly hued garnishes to different meals (giving them the nickname of vegetable confetti), and even blended into smoothies. They can be used in so many ways.

They add interesting textures and tastes to dishes.

Microgreens are not only beautiful to look at, but they also elevate dishes on a sensory level. Microgreens can be grown from many different types of seeds. Whether it’s broccoli micro greens, radish, pea shoots, etc. They all vary in taste, which can range from subtle to spicy, slightly sweet, or even peppery, depending on the variety. Their flavor is considered stronger and more concentrated than their full-size counterparts. From a culinary perspective, this allows for new and different depths of flavors to be added to recipes. It could even potentially have a healthy side effect as the fascinating flavors from these small plants could reduce the need to add additional seasoning, having an indirect health benefit.

They are highly nutritious

Each microgreen variety has its ensemble of good stuff, but microgreens are a great way to get your vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Often containing higher nutrient levels than their more mature counterparts, microgreens deliver a concentrated dose of beneficial plant compounds. They also have many benefits to adding into your diet in terms of nutrition, considering their high content of healthy compounds. As a result, this may reduce the risk of certain diseases. Since Brick Street Farms can grow their microgreens 365 days a year in controlled perfect growing conditions, the microgreens are always in season. This and the fact that the produce goes from harvest to destination helps retain even more of their nutrition compared to one’s sitting in your typical grocery store.

They offer a more sustainable way for our food system.

Microgreens are helping us see a brighter and more sustainable way for our food system. At Brick Street Farms, they use exponentially less water and resources compared to conventional farming for all their produce, including their micro greens. There is no use of pesticides, dirt, or bugs. Microgreens can be grown very simply, even in small spaces, being suitable for urban agriculture allowing for more sustainable cultivation and taking advantage of renewable sources.

Takeaway

Microgreens can be a tasty addition to sweet and savory dishes, and they may have more nutrients than their conventional counterparts while bettering our food system. All proof that microgreens are a great addition to an already healthy diet. So, eat your (micro)greens!

Hub News: We’re Introducing Solar

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Our BSF team is pushing the boundaries of both traditional farming and urban farming with our new BSF Hub model. As part of our mission to bring food production to the point of consumption while holding ourselves accountable to high environmental standards, we will be introducing solar energy to this new model. The Hubs will use smart energy management, which will help us optimize the usage of non-carbon generating electricity sources, especially during peak usage hours. These systems will be able to determine the most efficient, least carbon impact power source at any given time, choosing between the electric utility, on-site solar power with battery storage, and on-site natural gas generator. All these components will work in unison to control energy sources and lower our carbon footprint. ♻️

BSF Hubs: Saving Water

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You may have recently read the big announcement about our newest venture, BSF Hubs (if not, you can find out more here). We wanted to provide some further insight into some of the exciting sustainability initiatives that we will be introducing with our new model. Today, we will be focusing on our water-saving efforts. Our THRIVE Containers already use less than 95% of water used by traditional soil farms of the same production acreage. As part of our new BSF Hub model, we will have an advanced water management system, which will collect, filter, and reuse all sources of water at our disposal with the primary source being condensate. The Hub will house a central flushed nutrient water holding and settling tank where the water is further reprocessed through our proprietary advanced water management system. Once the water has been completely exhausted, it is stored in another on-site holding tank and used for landscaping irrigation. This will provide next level innovation to reuse, recycle and save water, which will decrease our water usage even further! Stay tuned for more info about our Hubs!

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