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In an effort to combat rising food costs, and to give back to the Keys Gate community, Cali Greens Construction has teamed up with Homestead Organic Farms to grow organic, sustainable produce for sale to the residents of Keys Gate at a weekly Farmer’s Market. 

What started over a year ago has now grown into a flourishing garden full of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are harvested weekly and sold at a market behind the Keys Gate Realty Sales office.

 Making the garden unique is the innovative use of hydroponic technology.  With training from the Verti-Gro company, which designed the vertical growing systems at Disney’s Epcot Center, the Keys Gate garden grows its hydroponic produce above ground.  This process requires 90% less water, and reduces insect infestations, which diminishes the need for pesticides.

Hydroponic gardening is accomplished by growing in stacks of pots connected to a central tower, as opposed to being rooted in the ground.  The crop is then nourished 3 times a day with steady drips of water that flow down the towers.  The garden also has four bee hives to help with pollination, and a small greenhouse where seedlings are grown and used to sustain the market week after week.

The hydroponic garden yields items like red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, bibb lettuce, spinach, bok choi, parsley, cilantro, red and green cabbage, tomatoes, arugula, cauliflower, rosemary, dill, lettuce, scallions, swiss chard.   Additionally, many other organic items are available, including: green beans, tomatoes, jalapenos, cubanelle peppers, carrots, broccoli, green cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber and green peppers.

 Cali Greens Construction is utilizing its own internal group of construction managers who are eager to give back to the Community which they helped build over the past years. Todd Walker, director of construction for Cali Greens and Garden project manager, has been building at Keys Gate for over 18 years.  “It’s extremely rewarding to watch this garden turn into the successful market that it is today,” said Walker.  “By growing our produce here on site, we’re able to offer our residents a superior product at a fraction of the price they would pay in a retail store”.

The Keys Gate Market first opened to residents on January 9th 2011, when a large number of residents came to the Market, eager to reap the bounty from the freshly harvested garden.  The success of the market is attributed to the fact that customers can see exactly where their produce is coming from.  Residents also enjoy the fact that they can walk through the garden, learn about hydroponics, and have real-time knowledge of the produce they are consuming.

“Everyone likes to eat healthy and know where their food is grown,” said Toni Manning of Cali Greens Construction.  “With the stalks of vegetables grown only feet from the Market, our customers can rest assured they are getting the freshest and highest quality product available anywhere”.

The Keys Gate Farmer’s Market is located at 888 Kingman Road, directly behind the Keys Gate Realty Sales office and is open every Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM as long as supplies last. Keys Gate residents are asked to being their Keys Gate Residents ID card to receive substantial discounts. Only cash is accepted. For more information, contact 305-230-0000.


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