NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Aquaponic Research Center has changed its name, but operators say its commitment to freshness remains unchanged despite the international COVID 19 pandemic.
The center, now Bluefields Farms, has been a local provider of fresh top quality produce to restaurants, hotels and food stores for years but the current pandemic brought operation to a slight halt.
“We say ‘Seeded in Nassau’ with pride but freshness is our promise, especially during these uncertain times, said Chief of Operations Tom Stack.
“We started this company after seeing the food security issues of many island nations that are predominantly dependent on the importation of food,” Stack said.
“The COVID 19 outbreak proved this concern and shows the need evermore for our expansion throughout the Caribbean.”
With a team of just six, the 25,000 square-foot facility, located west of New Providence, continues to provide a naturally grown local product with the same great taste and quality.
At maximum production the facility has the capacity to produce 2,500 pounds of produce currently ranging from salad mixes, microgreens and live herbs.
The team has also been experimenting with bok choy, edible flowers, kale and swiss chard, and new herbs such as thyme and oregano, Stack said.
Stack continued: “In order to accommodate our clients, we want to continue to provide top quality and of course fresh produce that’s not easily sourced locally for clients and local food stores.”
An aquaponic system is a blend of an aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water).
In the fish component, tilapia are raised which gives the base nutrients that then are passed in the water to a Bio-reactor where billions of tiny beneficial bacteria convert those nutrients into a form that the plants can utilize called Nitrate.
After the bioreactor phase, the nitrate passes out to the plant production area where plants are grown.
This system is re-circulating and the cleaned water is passed back to the fish ready to go through the process again.
“There’s no use of harsh pesticides or it will kill the fish. So you know you are eating healthy naturally grown produce harvested the day before delivery. After traveling the world and noticing the impact of food shortages, this is our way of giving back,” Stack said.
Bluefields Farm’s produce can be found in local food stores around Nassau and can be reached through all social media and its website to see the various produce offerings.
To learn more about the research center and aquaponic farming, visit www.aquaponicresearchcenter.com.