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Flourish Farms 2015 in Review

posted Jan 14, 2016, 8:28 PM by JD Sawyer

Flourish Farms is a 3,200 sq ft urban aquaponics farm run by Colorado Aquaponics and has been operating at the GrowHaus in NE Denver since 2012. Ownership is proud to announce a positive net profit for 2015. While our farm is small we run a highly efficient operation minimizing expenses in areas such as packaging, distribution and labor. Farm revenues are based on fish and plant revenues with less than 2% coming from tours (we provide free tours twice a week and only charge for private tour groups). Not included in the revenue is the fact that the farm donates 10% of its produce to the GrowHaus to support its food basket distribution program so we consider it an added bonus that we are able to fulfill our donation goals and still remain profitable.

What makes the farm successful is a focus on 6 to 8 core products that we can consistently grow really well week in and week out. The farm serves between 8 to 10 local restaurants and markets each week which are all located within five miles of the farm. We perform our own distribution twice a week which allows us to stay in close contact with our chefs. Maintaining good relationships with our restaurants and providing a high quality product are key factors to the success of the farm.

Product is typically packaged in 24 ct reusable plastic crates (RPCs) so the only packaging expense is the box liner bag we use inside of each crate. Since we sell in bulk to chefs and markets we do not have to individually package each product which would create additional labor and packaging expenses. A steady rotation of seeding, transplanting and harvesting creates a predictable and repeatable process.  The main products come from our deep water culture system and include Romaine, Bibb and Oscarde lettuce varieties along with Kale, Swiss Chard and Mustard Greens. We also provide very high quality microgreen pea shoots and black oil sunflower which are popular with our local chefs.

The farm is run by one full time employee who manages day to day operations including product harvesting, seeding, delivery, pest management, amendments, fish feeding and general administrative functions. Flourish pays rent and utility expenses to the GrowHaus for use of the greenhouse.

We are looking forward to another great year and we expect continued increases particularly in fish revenue as we have several hundred fish that are now ready for harvest in early 2016. These fish include a population of approximately 200 hybrid striped bass averaging about 2 lbs each, and over 450 Tilapia between .5 to 2 lbs. We will be aggressively selling fish to our neighbors and restaurants over the coming months.

As always you can come visit the GrowHaus in Denver every Friday and Saturday at 10am for a free tour. Colorado Aquaponics offers several classes on aquaponics from one day to four day courses. 

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