Anthony Ruiz has always dreamed of being a farmer.
The idea of being able to grow his own food, and raise cattle to feed his family year around, became more important, the more he learned about our food supply.
Despite an unsuccessful attempt to find land in Schroon, Anthony never gave up. And that’s when he realized farming micro greens was the answer.
After an initial investment, a build out of an indoor space and a lot of research, Gather It Up Farms was born.
“There’s a verse in the bible that talks about God providing food and those he provides food for, gather it up. So we are Gather It Up Farms and we are satisfyingly good,” Anthony told Schroon Laker.
Anthony grows a variety of microgreens: beets, sunflower, pea, radish, kale, amaranth, Genovese basil, broccoli, radish, arugula and Bok Choy.
Anthony says micro greens pack a powerful nutrient punch – with more thanfour to 40 percent than regular greens.So what do they taste like? Simply delicious, as I discovered when Anthony walked me through a tasting menu. Each sample was literally just a few sprigs of a green.
We started off with Sunflower, which, for my palate, had a nutty taste, with a crunchy and juicy mouth feel. Next up: Beets. Wow – an explosive taste of beets seconds after it hit my taste buds. The microgreens version of Red Russian Kale was mild and sweet. The Arugula was my favorite: an intense pepper bomb. Next came the radish – as spicy as any radish I’ve bitten into, except this version was just a few strands.
I could imagine any one these on top of home made pizza, on a soup, a burger or in a taco. The micrograms are available for purchase directly from Anthony at his Giant Mountain Studio in Schroon. Prices start at 2$2.50 for a small container. He will be at the Chestertown Farmer's Market starting in June.
Anthony, in conjunction with the Northwoods Bakery and Witherbee's, recently collaborate on a soup with basil microgreens. Anthony's hope is that as word spreads, more local restaurants will become interested.
Anthony grows his microgreens year around indoors in a controlled environment. “We grow our greens in a vertical farm on shelves with a system of lights.
“Our microgreens are grown in a medium and just after the sprouting stage, seven to 14 days, some are older, is when we harvest them There are difficulties, I wouldn’t say I have a green thumb yet”.
Becoming a farmer has had unexpected benefits. It’s been fun for me and for my kids. One of the most surprising things is the amaranth. Two days after planting the quinoa like seed the bed turned from tan to a deep purple.”
Anthony says he potentially sees a big demand for the greens, from both consumers and restaurants. “
I’ve been down to Glens Falls and have seen a needfor micro greens when I saw chefs shopping for their restaurants. They were travelling 45 minutes. It stinks that they have to travel so far, so I started wondering why couldn’t we grow it in Schroon Lake.
Anthony says over the last few years he and his family have become more conscious about where their food comes from., how it gets to our supermarket shelves and all of those resources usedalong the way.
“There are things we don’t know, like what is Monsanto doing to our food with GMOs and what insecticides they are spraying on it. Here I grow certified organic seeds. I feel a little safer putting my food in the mouths of my family..
As the business grows, Anthony intends on expanding . “After I take on clients, we will determine how much we scale. Anthony still hasn’t given up on his dream of owning land in Schroon. “We eventually would like to have land where we plant in soil or Green Houses.”
Gather It Up Farm. 518-480-7235