Royal Greens high school project grows into hydroponics farm
RIDGEWAY, S.C. — Royal Greens is an indoor wholesale hydroponics farm that celebrated its grand opening last March in Ridgeway. It is located in a 173,000-square-foot former textile mill that had been vacant for 20 years.
Royal Greens specializes in producing and selling a variety of lettuces, kales and basils for commercial restaurants and grocery stores. The company has about 20 employees, but plans to reach 100 workers by September 2016.
The farm is owned and operated by a father and son, and had its beginning as a high school research project. Scott Harriford’s subject was hydroponics, a system of cultivating plants using mineral nutrients in water without soil. He focused his project on using hydroponics to grow lettuce. Scott worked at an urban farm and at a neighborhood health food market to learn something about sustainable farming practices.
Royal Greens plan is to produce 70 types of lettuce and kale, 100 varieties of peppers and 100 varieties of tomatoes, among many other vegetable choices. The farm will harvest and deliver within eight hours to customers in a 400-mile radius. That will insure fresher produce with longer shelf life and lower transportation costs.