Arctic Farms: growing hydroponic veggies in the dead of winter

Great State
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BLANCHARD, OKLAHOMA -- During one of the coldest times of the year, Andrea Parks is one of the only farmers in the state who still has a crop to pick in January.

"I love the sunshine and the warmth," she says. "I like to go into the greenhouse and pretend winter is not happening."

At a time when her neighbors are just feeding cows and chickens. Andrea has a lot of produce to pick. That includes cucumbers and big tomatoes.

"Yeah," she smiles. "That means everything is growing well. Farming is a non-stop job, 24-7."

While the dirt is frozen outside Andrea's plants actually stay well clear. Everything inside this plastic barn is strictly roots, water, and plant food.

The Arctic Farms operation is all hydroponic.

Parks argues, "With hydroponics we're able to check the nutrients and minerals in the water that feeds the plants. We do that twice a day."

"It grows faster, bigger, and some people say more nutritious," she continues.

You'd have to travel hundreds of miles south to see these kinds of crops outside.

But an Oklahoma winter is nothing compared with what the Parks are used to.

They're both from Alaska.

They went to school in Montana.

So central Oklahoma doesn't seem cold at all by comparison.

"It feels great," she says.

For people who've long since given up finding a good tomato in January, or fresh herbs, or new butter lettuce for a hamburger,
Andrea Parks has bushels full of tasty treasures.

It might be cold outside but the garden in here is still growing like crazy.

The Arctic Farm produce sells at the OSU Tech Farmer's Market on weekends and through the Oklahoma Farmer's Co-op.

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