A new year means new resolutions and many of us are solemnly swearing to eat healthier in 2018. Baton Rouge natives, Grant and Allison Guidroz, make getting your healthy fix a little easier through their local Fullness Farm. The husband and wife duo grew up in Baton Rouge, went to high school and LSU together, and gained farming experience through internships and hands-on learning.
“[We] started actively learning all we could while in college, reading, researching, attending conferences, and started a business designing, installing, and maintaining custom organic raised beds while at LSU,” Allison said. “After graduating in 2011, we worked for Louisiana Delta Service Corps with Slow Food Baton Rouge working in community gardens, school gardens, organizing local food events. After completing a year with LDSC, we did two farming internships.”
Their internships took them to Alexandria and Arkansas for over two years. After learning the nuts and bolts of running a successful farm, Grant and Allison returned to the Capital City.
In 2015, they started Fullness Farm with the goal of growing the most nutritionally dense food for our community right on the corner of Nicholson and Bluebonnet. By concentrating on perfectly balancing the minerals in the soil, they help improve the plants’ health, shelf life, flavor, and nutritional values of each vegetable. Fullness Farm focuses on organic, small scale intensive growing.
Allison describes their intensive method as maximizing their small-scale farm, which sits on a little more than half an acre of land, to grow as much produce as possible.
“We do this by intercropping, like growing radishes and broccoli on the same bed. Radishes are ready quick and harvested before the broccoli needs the space. This cuts down on the need to weed and we get two crops from one bed,” said Allison.
Grant and Allison are currently working on taking their small scale farm to the next level. Recently they started the long process of expanding production. They are moving their organic produce into a larger area, adding about an acre of land. Fullness Farm will remain local and occupy a wooded area in Baton Rouge. The trees were ground up and made into organic matter, which adds nutrients to the new soil and provides a great bed for the new crops.
Fullness Farm’s soil is what makes their produce some of the best in the city. Grant and Allison make sure each vegetable is washed and ready to sell directly to the customer. The produce is so fresh, you can eat it out the bag. They pride themselves on making healthy and organic eating easy for their customers, being transparent about their practices, and willing to explain exactly how their food is grown.
Produce grown on Fullness Farm has been available at the Red Stick Famers Market since October of 2015. Since then, consumers have stocked up on fan favorites like beets, carrots, and bok choy as well as seasonal greens, kale, radishes, turnips, cabbage, fennel, arugula, snow pea shoots, and even edible flowers.
Their Spring Mix is one of their favorite crops. Allison took DIG on Fullness Farm’s step by step process from farm to table. They start by seeding the field every Monday.
“Before you seed, you have to prepare the bed by clearing any debris from the previous crop, amending the bed with our custom mix of organic fertilizers, micro-nutrients, and mineral blend, shallow tilling to incorporate it in, use a roller to make sure the bed top is flat, and then the bed is ready to plant,” said Allison.
Next she hand waters the bed of seeds. Four weeks later the crop is ready to harvest.
“We harvest in the morning while it’s cool by hand, with scissors. After harvesting, we double wash and spin dry the greens and package them and then they immediately go into our walk in cooler. For market, we harvest, wash and pack on Friday, the day before market opens, and for restaurants we harvest, wash, and pack in the morning and deliver in the afternoon of the same day,” said Allison.
Because of the local location of the farm, Fullness Farm is able to provide Baton Rouge with flavorful and crisp veggies that can last up to two weeks if stored properly. Allison suggests keeping greens in a refrigerator drawer and keeping them cool until they make it home. The freshness of their produce can’t be beet! (See what I did there?)
Start the new year right by stocking up on fresh veggies and supporting a local business at the Red Stick Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8am to Noon. You can also find Fullness Farm produce at Baton Rouge favorites like MJ’s Cafe, Magpie, Umami, City Pork, Mestizo’s, Mansurs on the Boulevard, Nino’s, and Indie Plate’s Meal Prep. For more information on Fullness Farm, Grant and Allison Guidroz, and their nutrient-dense produce, check out their Facebook page.
Images: Sean Gasser