Fresh Harvest Farm was established in 2011 as the first large scale aquaponic farm in Ohio. Located in Richwood on approximately four acres of land, Fresh Harvest Farm is devoted to growing pesticide free produce using aquaponics. While looking for a retirement business, owners Doug and Jeni Blackburn saw a growing desire for food that is grown locally year-round. After researching business options, they decided on a farming technique known as Aquaponics.
Since building the first 1200 sq. ft. system and 35’ by 72’ greenhouse, Fresh Harvest Farm has tripled its grow space and greenhouses over the last 3 years to accommodate the growing demand for their fresh, healthy produce. Growing primarily leafy greens that are sold to local restaurants and fulfilling weekly “Lettuce Club” subscriptions, the farm also raises yellow perch as part of the aquaponics systems. Housing approximately 12,000 perch year-round, the farm grows out 3’’-4’’ fingerlings to plate size by rotating perch harvesting every six months.
The aquaponics systems at Fresh Harvest Farm are mainly constructed as deep-water culture (DWC), however experimentations with ebb-n-flow, NFT and wicking beds systems are ongoing. Maintaining their commitment to sustainability, Fresh Harvest pledges to reuse or recycle as much as possible. The farm put this into practice by using closed loop systems to reduce demand on water usage, composting plant roots and waste, reusing grow media by sterilizing between uses, as well as implementing renewable energy sources to heat the greenhouses and fish tanks in the winter months with a R.E.A.P. grant awarded through the USDA.
Fresh Harvest Farm is dedicated to educating others about aquaponics through farm tours, speaking engagements and our partnerships with The Ohio State University’s South Centers College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and the Ohio Aquaculture Association.
After having run our aquaponic farm successfully for 10+ years, we decided to offer workshops on building, running systems and starting your own aquaponic business. We are now excited to be the home for the Aquaponic Farming Course.