Avalon Hydroponic Farms
By Craig Chapman
Sherill Spaccio and partner Steve Miley had a dream to leave behind their lives in the medical field and build a community farm. That dream grew into Avalon Hydroponic Farms, and it grew fast. “In our first year we did a quarter of an acre. This past summer we decided to expand to all three acres,” said Sherill.
It didn’t take long for the surrounding community to find out. “Our tomatoes last year, as well as our strawberries, sold out every single weekend. So that’s when we decided we needed to expand because we weren’t able to provide the community’s demands. There is a true desire in this community to be self-sustaining, to know where your food is coming from and how it’s grown,” Sherill explained.
Expanding on the community’s desire to know its food roots is something Avalon Farms prides itself on, as well as using the farm as an educational resource for the local community, especially children.
“Steve and I wanted to make it in a way that is easy and fun. With childhood obesity rates increasing, we wanted to be sure children and families know where their food comes from… the ground.”
“So we started having field trips here. I walk them through the farm, let them eat things they refused to eat before, and they actually enjoy it! It’s so much fun to have this family time away from the T.V., phones, computers, to just come here to spend the day with your family, picking fruit. It’s great family time and for teaching your children how to grow your own food.”
They also have plans to turn the farm into a year-round center for food and food education. “This year, we will have strawberries from January to June, we will have tomatoes and greens in our greenhouse and more. We have fieldtrips, birthdays, we have a playground area, chickens, and organizational events.”
Even though it was born and bred in Melbourne, Avalon Farms has big city dreams. “The reason we decided to do hydroponics is because of the scarcity of land. This produce (on the farm) equals about seven acres of land. Urban agriculture is the new thing; when you grow upwards you get more produce and more volume out of the space you have.
Overall, the difference Avalon Farms is making in the community is what Sherill and Steve are most proud of.
“It’s really been a positive impact on us that what we are doing is really making a difference.”
WHAT’S IN SEASON NOW:
Lettuce (four varieties),Herbs: Basil, Dill, Cilantro, Thyme, Rosemary, Mint and Parsley; Tomatoes, Kale (three varieties),Celery, Arugula, Swiss Chard (two varieties), Pak Choi, Zucchini, Squash, Seedless Cucumbers, Peppers: Green, Mini, Jalapeño, Tabasco and Thai
Avalon Hydroponic Farms
930 S. John Rodes Blvd. | Melbourne, FL 32904
(844) 920-9156 | AvalonHydro.net
ABOUT THE WRITER
Craig Chapman is the producer of “Real Food Real Kitchens,” a food media brand that is all about family, food, culture and history. To learn more about his TV series, magazine and cookbook, visit RealFoodRealKitchens.com. Watch season 2 of “Real Food Real Kitchens” exclusively on HULU featuring the traditional family recipes of several Brevard County residents at Hulu.com/real-food-real-kitchens