Fusion CEA farming allows crops to grow faster, all year round, using less water and minimal labor while eliminating crop failures. Fusion Farms, in the beautiful city of Mayagüez in Western Puerto Rico, is the ideal location to use an existing PRIDCO facility and to grow leafy green vegetables, which are in high local and organic demand.
The beauty of our design is that we can shift easily to the supply and demand. Below is a list of agricultural products we have identified that are firmly positioned for our initial grow year:
- Ag Product #1 – Basil
- Ag Product #2 – Butter Lettuce
- Ag Product #3 – Moringa
- Ag Product #4 – Cilantro
- Ag Product #5 – Mint
The Ag Product #1 – Why basil?
Basil is enjoyed as a fresh-leaf herb on meats and vegetables, prepared in sauces such as pesto, or dried and used in many recipes in cultures throughout the world. Basil grows well in aquaponics systems because of the ideal growing conditions created with warm water and ample sunlight.
When basil is grown in traditional in-ground growing, it is a ‘summer crop,’ but when grown year-round in aquaponics systems, it is considered a ‘high-value crop.’
One of the easiest and most popular culinary herbs to grow is the common or sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum. A member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), it is native to southern Asia and islands of the South Pacific. This tender annual is primarily grown for its aromatic leaves, used fresh or dried, to liven up numerous dishes of both Asian and Western cuisines. Basil seeds are also used in Thai foods. Basil is best used fresh. The clove-like aroma and flavor is a wonderful seasoning in both Western and Asian foods and the fresh leaves have a tender texture. However, many people use dried or frozen basil during the cold months when fresh basil isn’t available. The traditional sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum, is the most popular variety, used primarily for culinary purposes such as pesto and tomato dishes.
The Ag Product #2 – Why Butter Lettuce?
We have decided on growing lettuce because it’s easy, reliable and requires little space, and enjoys a long growing season, allowing for multiple and continuous harvests. Lettuce is also one of the best vegetables to grow because it offers a nice mix of nutrients in a compact package, including iron, folate, and vitamins A and C. It’s for all these reasons that we choose lettuce as an integral step in our journey to delicious, homegrown sustainable produce.
The Ag Product #3 – Why Moringa?
The Moringa plant is beginning to gain more popularity as a new “superfood” due to its highly nutritious profile and powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and tissue protective properties among many other health benefits.
Moringa oleifera is a small tree from India, Pakistan and Nepal that has been used for generations in Eastern countries to treat and prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, anemia, arthritis, liver disease and respiratory, skin and respiratory disorders.
A simple tree known as “the drumstick tree,” or scientifically as Moringa oleifera, is commonly touted as a superfood since it is rich in nutrients, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. The Moringa oleifera tree is a small tree that is native to India but that grows in many parts of the world. The entire tree is considered edible and it is known for its long-twisted pods, from which it derives its name.
The Moringa tree has several names in different parts of the world including its common name of “horseradish tree,” since its roots taste similar to horseradish root when raw. In Ayurvedic medicine it is known as shigru and in Spanish it is referred to as Jacinto.
Moringa is beneficial as a food because of its ability to grow in a variety of climates, especially subtropical climates. In fact, Moringa Oleifera grows in virtually all countries where malnutrition is widespread and may be a great part of a comprehensive plan to alleviate malnutrition throughout the world.
It is believed that the moringa tree originated in northern India and was being used in Indian medicine around 5,000 years ago, and there are also accounts of it being utilized by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. This tree was, and still is, considered a panacea, and is referred to as the ‘The Wonder Tree’, ‘The Divine Tree’, and ‘The Miracle Tree’ amongst many others.
The Ag Product #4 – Cilantro
Cilantro, also known as Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) or Chinese Parsley has fresh leaves and dried seeds that are most traditionally used in cooking.
Most people perceive the taste of coriander leaves as a tart, lemon/lime taste, but a smaller group, of about 4–14% of people tested, think the leaves taste like bath soap, as linked to a gene which detects aldehyde chemicals also present in soap.
Cilantro is native to regions spanning from southern Europe and northern Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft plant growing to 50 cm (20 in) tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems.
Cilantro herb is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. However, its deep-green leaves possess good amounts of antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and dietary fiber, which may help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in the blood.
Cilantro is low in calories and is packed with an impressive array of nutrients. It contains many phytonutrients- plant-based compounds that have significant health promoting properties. Even ancient physicians like Hippocrates used it medicinally. It’s a powerful antioxidant and also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It can lower your cholesterol and is also considered to be a digestive aid, helping to ease nausea.
Cilantro is rich in several vitamins like A, C and K. Vitamin A is an antioxidant and is important for healthy eyes, teeth and skin as well as cell growth and a strong immune system. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, helps boost your immune system, keeps your skin healthy, and is essential for tissue repair and wound healing. Vitamin K is essential for normal blood clotting and is important for bone health.
Cilantro is also rich in fiber and several minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and manganese.
The Ag Product #5 – Why Mint?
We have decided on growing mint because it’s easy, resilient, grows quickly, and enjoys a particularly unique relationship with Puerto Ricans. The mojito is a rum-based cocktail that is cool, minty, and just perfect for a hot day (or night). While its origin is contested, it has become a local Puerto Rican classic and a huge part of revenue associated with tourism. There are regular competitions to determine which bartender makes the best mojito on the island. We met with one farmer on the island who was growing mint exclusively in his aquaponic greenhouse before it was devastated by Hurricane Maria. He was routinely sold out of his mint supply and has not yet been able to determine the actual market demand as everything that has ever been produced has been immediately sold out.
Aquaponics allows crops to grow faster, year-round, using less water and minimal labor while minimizing crop failures. Fusion Farms, in the beautiful Mayagüez district of Western Puerto Rico, is the ideal location to use an existing concrete, hurricane-protected PRIDCO building to grow non-GMO produce high in local demand.
Pilot – Year 1:
- 6 mint varieties – 45% Production
- 6 basil varieties – 45% Production
- Microgreens – 10% Production
- Whole Tilapia – Ancillary Product
Year 2 – reconfirm market demand and feasibility
- Butter Lettuce
- Plant fruit trees and Moringa
- Living Bamboo wall along the perimeter
Year 3 – Develop outdoor expansion under hoops
- Green beans
Or, for more information, email your request to Info@FusionFarmsPR.com