RIPON, Wis. (WFRV) — It’s modern day farming that is growing in popularity. In fact, business is booming even in the dead of winter.
“Right now we’re growing basil, cilantro, parsley, and dill,” said Bryan Ernst, owner of Ernessi Farms in Ripon.
While you might associate farming with a tractor, farming is also happening inside a building in downtown Ripon.
“With vertical farming we’re able to control all of our growing parameters, to the nutrient concentrations, the amount of CO2 the plants get, the exact wavelength of light the plants get so we can really optimize growth,” Ernst added.
Think of it less as farming, and more of as a technology company.
“We are just trying to trick the plants into what we want them to do,” said Ernst.
From the time those plants are harvested to the time they’re on grocery store shelves is short. In many cases, it’s 12 to 16 hours later.
Besides herbs, the farms also produce mushrooms. Using algorithms, they can actually guess how much demand will be like weeks ahead of time.
“We predict usage so we constantly have a chain going so as this room is harvested and cleaned out new bags will be placed in within 24 hours,” Ernst told Local 5’s Barrett Tryon.
The farms have come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2014.
“With this expansion that we’re about to finish, we’ll be the largest vertical farm in the state,” Ernst said.
Bringing the next generation of farming to small town America.
Reports say that over the next 30 years, vertical farming is expected to be a $30 billion industry.
You can read more about the farms on its website.