Wednesday, October 27, 2010

3 Boys Farm welcomes Hawai'ian Fusion Cuisine innovator Roy Yamaguchi

L-R: Roy's Restaurants Corporate Chef Kiel Lombardo;
Robert Tornello;
Roy Yamaguchi

It has been an exciting and busy October at 3 Boys Farm. Last week, we had the honor of welcoming Roy Yamaguchi (of Roy's Restaurants fame) to the hydroponic facilities in Ruskin.

Yamaguchi, along with Corporate Chef Kiel Lombardo, Robert Tornello, and 3 Boys' Greenhouse Manager Michael Lenas, toured the wildly productive shadehouses, where our guests were able to see the kind of quantity--and, most importantly, quality--that 3 Boys Farm can produce, consistently and year-round, without needing to use dangerous pesticides or genetically-modified seeds; without draining Florida's threatened aquifer; and without the large carbon footprint traditionally associated with the vast majority of commercial food-growing operations.

Chef Kiel Lombardo;
3 Boys Farm Greenhouse Manager Michael Lenas;
Roy Yamaguchi

One of the many nice things about growing hydroponically and organically is that visitors can sample a crispy, sweet pepper, a juicy cucumber, or a firey arugula leaf right where they're standing--there are no worries about soil or pesticides needing to be rinsed off.

Yamaguchi was especially impressed with the current eggplant crop:

Still, it's hard to not be in the mood for a lovely fresh salad after walking through rows of tables like these:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Congratulations Robert! 3 Boys Farm receives Environmental Leadership Award (with VIDEO link)

Last week, Robert and Deborah Tornello traveled to sunny Daytona Beach, and at a breakfast ceremony on Friday, October 15, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson recognized 3 Boys Farm, Saturiwa Conservation Area, and Arapaho Citrus Management with his 2010 Environmental Leadership Awards.

Be sure to see the fantastic video that Rick Lurding--Radio & TV Producer/Director for the Florida Department of Agriculture--made of 3 Boys Farm, which premiered at the breakfast (in Flash). You'll be so impressed, with both the farm itself and the lovely filmography and well-written narrative.

Of course, we're terribly proud of Robert, who's been tirelessly working toward this very green dream for many moons. And in addition to thanking Commissioner Bronson, we'd also like to thank Rick Lurding, as well as Gemy Hinton, and of course, our intrepid crew at the farm.

A couple of snapshots of the breakfast:

Robert speaks about the importance of growing locally and
sustainably--not just in terms of Florida's farms,
but for the agriculture industry writ large

Commissioner Bronson and Robert Tornello

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October skies and 3 Boys Farm

This is a shot of our new (yet old) windmill, photographed at sunset. Gorgeous fall skies are a not-too-well-kept secret here on the Gulf Coast--we've traveled around quite a bit, and have yet to see a sunset that compares to the ones we enjoy here in western Florida.

(Well, sunsets in the Big Island of Hawai'i and Tucson, Arizona *might* have come close--we're admittedly a bit biased toward our home state. Still...)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

3 Boys Farm to receive Florida Agriculture Commissioner's Environmental Leadership Award

Executive Chef Jason Cline of Tampa's Bin 27, center,
selecting lettuces with Head Grower Michael Lenas (left)
and Robert Tornello (right)

The Florida Agriculture Commissioner's Environmental Leadership Awards will be presented this week at a state breakfast held in Daytona Beach. This honor is in recognition of 3 Boys Farm's innovative approaches to conserving rainwater and energy, and we're one of only three such honorees statewide.

Bravo, Robert!

From the Florida Agriculture website:

A model of conservation, the 10-acre 3 Boys Farm in Ruskin has integrated alternative energy sources with high- and low-tech systems to produce a hyper-efficient, sustainable 21st century farm.

While collecting rainwater in cisterns isn't a new idea, the way in which the farm uses the water is. Owner Robert Tornello harvests it from the roofs of his greenhouses to use as a base for the hydroponic growing solution and in the greenhouse cooling systems. Using rainwater reduces his annual draw from the aquifer by over 10 million gallons.

The hydroponic growing technique and greenhouse climate control system allows 3 Boys Farm to organically grow any vegetable or herb year round, a rare feat for a Florida farm. Customers -- including upscale, ethnic and fusion restaurants -- rave about the quality and variety of the produce and the ability to cook with vegetables and herbs, grown to their exact specifications, picked just hours before.

As others were leaving traditional agriculture, Tornello felt it was time to return with a new vision. Combining old techniques with advanced technology he wanted to grow a wholesome crop with little impact on the environment. At 3 Boys Farm he has succeeded.