ALDEN, N.Y. — Inside a small warehouse on North Millgrove Road in Alden, Cara Sherrieb and Greg Krol are taking gardening to new heights.
"Winter came and we couldn't find anything that was of decent quality, so we started to look into what can we do to grow indoors so we could get the crops in Buffalo that everyone is getting year-round," Sherrieb said.
They started Cool Greens of WNY about a year ago. It's an indoor, vertical farm where they grow everything from vegetables and herbs to microgreens and edible flowers. Everything they grow is pesticide-free.
"We sell living lettuce heads. We leave the lettuce right on the root when we harvest it, and that gives you the consumer the opportunity to go home and not necessarily have to use the entire lettuce head right away," Sherrieb said.
They have 336 towers, and each can hold 6-8 plants. Currently, they're using about half of the hydroponic tower gardens. The system circulates water and nutrients, and a computer system controls fertilizer and the pH of the water.
Right now they mostly sell to restaurants, but they hope to boost production and eventually sell wholesale and supply grocery stores.
Sherrieb said indoor, vertical farms are catching on because of a lack of space to start traditional farms, especially near more urban areas. She said indoor farms are more reliable too because they're not weather-dependent, and extreme heat, cold or rain won't affect the crop.