The incubator wing of Union-Endicott’s Tiger Ventures is home to a variety of burgeoning businesses.
One of these businesses is unique in its mission to provide Broome County consumers, and restaurants, with local and organic produce.
Founded in 2017, AgZeit Farms, a year-round vertical indoor farm, has quickly grown into a cutting-edge business fusing the agricultural, technology and manufacturing industries.
AgZeit Farms grew out of a partnership with 2445 Organics that combines 2445’s indoor farming techniques and patented technologies, with AgZeit Farms’ business, information technology, engineering expertise and multiple startup/founder experience. This is coupled with both companies’ desire to enhance the current growing trends defining the agricultural industry nationwide.
“[The company’s growing method] is a good integration of ‘high-tech’ and ‘high-touch.’ [We] integrate both in order to get...a consistent quality product without the fluctuation of prices, the risk involved and minimizing the amount of people who touch it,” AgZeit Farms company executives said.
“By doing it indoors, we control everything. We control the light. We control the water. We don’t have to worry about pesticides. We don’t have to worry about E. coli. We even use purified water to grow as well,” AgZeit Farms’ Chief Technology Officer Kenneth Marble added.
The range of delicious organic produce AgZeit Farms offers all year includes herbs, shoots, microgreens, leafy greens, fruits and vegetables - all grown with just seeds, soil, water and light.
“We have a catch phrase of what we grow, “Go with the FLOH,” and that’s ‘fresh, local, organic, healthy foods’...People want to be able to source locally, eat healthy and so forth - not just from a farm perspective, but from a restaurant end, people are demanding this,” AgZeit Farms executives began.
“Our products are proving to be popular in that regard...Even though this is a confined space, 600 sq ft, we grow the equivalent of about five seasonal acres. That’s 26,000 pounds of food - and that’s still not enough to meet demand,” they continued.
AgZeit Farms started off by selling the product in their Tiger Ventures space, as well as at the Broome County Regional Farmers Market. They quickly gained notoriety locally and built an ever-growing list of restaurant customers they continuously sell to. These include Consol’s Family Kitchen, Tony’s Italian Grill, Oak’s Inn, Lampy’s and Whole in the Wall.
“As a restaurant owner, what excites me about what AgZeit is doing is...we know exactly how our product is being handled. I don’t have to worry about how many hands that product has gone through before it arrives at my back door. For me, a person who cares about public safety, and the safety of my customers, that’s something huge,” began Jim Consol, owner of Consol’s Family Kitchen.
“We support local companies. We’re serving the absolute freshest possible product that’s been picked within the last couple days, as opposed to being three days from California, Mexico or Arizona. Those are the things that really get me excited about this operation, and to see this grow and expand,” Consol went on.
The year-round organic farming partnership is set to expand its production size to a 10,000 sq ft facility in Endicott, and several other 30,000 sq ft facilities shortly thereafter. This will enable them to eventually produce over two million pounds of food each year and employ over 100 people in agriculture, business and high-tech careers, as part of their community-building philosophy.
Though this would be a major jump from their current tight-knit staff, 600 sq ft space, and small group of consistent Union-Endicott High School interns, but the company plans to keep its presence at Tiger Ventures, while improving our region.
The continued Tiger Ventures presence will help supply AgZeit Farms with a ready-trained workforce. It is also a model facility for K-12 Ag Programming in Project-Based Learning, and for working with other like-minded Broome-based organizations.
AgZeit Farms and 2445 Organics executives and staff are thoroughly committed to staying in, and bettering, Broome County in creating both high-tech and high-touch life-long careers.
“Broome County is our home. It is where we grew up. It is where we want to help in the revitalization of our community. We want to expand here in Endicott…What we’re doing here, it’s not just to benefit us, it’s to benefit all of Broome County, as our HQ and homebase,” both companies’ executives said.
You can find, and buy, AgZeit’s local, organic produce in their Tiger Ventures location, at the Broome County Regional Farmers Market, Old Barn Hollow Market, Russell Farms in Brackney, Pennsylvania, as well as on their website #MadeinBroome #Broomeisgood #agoodlife.
AgZeit is part of why #Broomeisgood and the #MadeinBroome program.