Charlie Cornacchio

Charlie Cornacchio

News Anchor

POUGHKEEPSIE- Long before the industrial buildings and office space, downtown Poughkeepsie was a vast stretch of agricultural farmland, much like the rest of the Hudson Valley. Several hundreds of years and several thousands of vacant office space later, Poughkeepsie may find its resurgence in its roots, literally.

For several months Brud Hodgkins, Earl Crum and Karole Mundell have been working on a Project that could revitalize the city, and will create jobs. A farm at 316 Main Street, (Middle Main Street – no less!) in the City of Poughkeepsie.

After months of research and an application to the City of Poughkeepsie Planning Board, Indoor Organic Gardens of Poughkeepsie has received a Building Permit to modify 6000 sq ft of space at 316 Main Street, the former Kresge Building, and more recently an office only facility.

Within a month, and up to this date, IOGP has successfully farmed product and is providing a local source of Micro Greens for Restaurants, Farm Markets and Consumers.

In addition, several local retail stores, including Adams Fairacre Farms have agreed to give these little veggies some shelf space.

A microgreen is a tiny vegetable green that is used both as a visual and flavor component or ingredient primarily in fine dining restaurants. Smaller than “baby greens,” and harvested later than “sprouts,” microgreens can provide a variety of leaf flavors, such as sweet and spicy. They are also known for their various colors and textures. Among upscale markets, they are now considered a specialty genre of greens that are good for garnishing salads, soups, plates, and sandwiches.

“Radishes take about 72 hours to germinate real well”, says Earl Crum the Master farmer who visits the downtown indoor garden from his Millbrook farm each morning at 4:00 a.m. Image252

And that is one of the compelling features of Micro Greens; the sprouts grow quickly and contain as much nutrient and flavor as it does at full size and fully mature.

Brud Hodgkns knows a thing or two about growing. He’s never farmed before, but he has grown several businesses to great success. One business you may recognize is Riverside Bank, another is his current Hodgkins Insurance Agency.

“We’ve been looking for utilization of unoccupied space in the City for a long time now as the demand drops for the more traditional uses”, says Hodgkins, “Right now its a matter of letting the public know that there is such a thing as a micro green.”

Micro Greens which have three compelling features.Image251

TASTY: After a 24 hour stop in an Organic Compost medium where the seeds are “sprouted” in 10″ X 20″ flats, twenty five of these flats are placed in a 55″ X 108″ Growing Table under an array of Grow Lights for 6-10 days after which they are ready for harvest. At this stage virtually all of the “flavor” has been captured in these 3-4″ plants that there will be, even if allowed to grow to maturity.

COLORFUL: The colors are remarkable , especially Amaranth, Radish, Kale, Red Cabbage, Mustard and others. As a garnish for soups, salads and sandwiches, steaks, chops and seafood, little else can compare. Herbs are typically used for this purpose, but Micro Greens are favored by many of the Top Chef’s.

NUTRITION: By far the most compelling attribute of Micro Greens. One ounce of Micro Greens has the nutritional value of many times that amount of mature vegetables. Imagine that a nutrition deprived child can get 100% of their daily needs in a few ounces of this food? Of course nutrition deprived adults can get the same benefit.

While most of the Hudson Valley’s current available produce comes from as far as 1800 miles away, the vision is to expand the project to other locations in the City and create a significant Commercial Enterprise that will supply Micro Greens locally in and to areas beyond the Hudson Valley.

If you would like to hear about the process, or see it in again, Indoor Organic Gardens of Poughkeepsie is more than happy to open its doors for a show and tell. Contact Karole Mundell or Brud Hodgkins at 845-790 8075 or iogopk@aol.com Hodgkins adds, “This is the heart of the City, 316 Main Street, the middle of Middle Main, and we’re going to grow this thing from the center out”

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