Second-generation farmer Mark Anders started Anders Family Farm out of a passion for producing a high-quality harvest on the land he grew up on. For many years, Mark grew field vegetables like other farmers until he became captivated with the knowledge of water purification and the health benefits of hydroponics. But never could he have imagined leaving behind a legacy that would carry on through his wife, Anna, and three young daughters, Ashlyn (20), Madison (16), and Abby (13).
After extensive schooling and research, Mark built his first homemade hydroponic system in a small greenhouse, not thinking much of it. Little did he know that friends and family would be keeping him busy with an appetite for his fresh lettuce! And while he continued to expand in that greenhouse, it didn’t take long for others to taste the difference and notice the quality.
Shortly thereafter, Mark was invited to be a vendor at the Greensboro Curb Farmers Market and began to attend on Mother’s Day weekend of May 2018. Within just two hours of each market opening, Mark would be wiped clean from all hydroponic lettuce and microgreens. He knew that to meet the high demand, it was time to take a leap of faith. It was in the summer of 2019 that Mark and his family broke ground on their land to build a 134-foot greenhouse that they are now quickly growing out of today. The greenhouse is operated year-round with seasonal produce that is non-GMO and pesticide-free.
Over the years, the Anders Family grew to spend every waking moment outside their regular work and school schedules in the greenhouse together. And after Mark’s passing away in August 2021, his wife and daughters were determined to keep his legacy alive and continue sharing the joy of the harvest with their community.
“At the farm we have an awesome team of four! Our daughters Ashlyn, Madison, and Abby do various jobs around the farm, from planting the seeds to planting the babies in the grow troughs. They harvest the hydroponic produce, pack orders, and help me at times attend the farmer market,” says Anna. Their oldest, Ashlyn, is making big moves in the lives of our children as she’s a preschool teacher by day and a farmworker by evening. “Madison is our farmhand, as she loves learning all the science behind growing and planting the hydroponics. And Abby is our smiler; she enjoys meeting our customers and helping in any way needed around the farm.” And of course, Anna handles all operations and oversees the daily activities while being a newly single mother.
“All of our produce is fungicide-free, non-GMO, and pesticide-free. We offer living hydroponic lettuce varieties, from green and red romaine heads to large leaf spinach and buttercrunch bibb.” They also offer a full line of hydroponic microgreens that “pack a huge nutrition punch in a very small plant. Their flavor is also intensified on your palate, so a little goes a very long way.” Their lettuce heads are harvested the night prior to market and are sold with the roots still attached so that they will stay fresh for up to two weeks or longer! One of their popular items is their Hydroponic Spinach that they grow in the fall, winter, and early spring. They also have a variety of fresh, flavorful herbs year-round, from dill to cilantro, parsley, and basil.
“What you put into your body really does matter. For months now, we have had one customer who has taken her young son to a holistic doctor for his autism, and the doctor recommended broccoli microgreens. When she first sought us out at the market, she would purchase our hydroponic greens weekly. And now, she has told us that she is seeing changes in him and will continue to modify his diet for hopes of the better.” Anna also explained how she has a customer that recently underwent a lung transplant and had to be extremely cautious when picking out ingredients, but comes by weekly to purchase their hydroponic greens as he doesn’t have to worry about the microorganisms of regular store-bought produce grown in the field.
You can shop their hydroponic greens on their website for local pick-up at the farm or say hi to Anna in person at the Greensboro Curb Farmers Market on Saturdays. They are also available throughout the week in local stores and restaurants listed on their website (www.andersfamilyfarm.com). You can contact them at (336) 403 9420 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.