What’s On My Plate

I became a Finn and Roots “devotee” ages ago. Over the years, this farm’s consistently gorgeous greens, basil, and cukes have always made me curious: how are these spectacular products grown? Who’s behind the operation? And where IS IT? Recently, Keith Drinkwine, our Produce Category Manager, and I went for a visit to find out!

Worth the Trip!

First, we had to get there. Finn and Roots is in Bakersfield, VT, a long trip from South Burlington … up the Interstate, through cozy little towns, bumping over dirt roads for miles, and finally down a lovely driveway to the farm.  

Holly and Heather were there to greet us and immediately we discovered that all of this incredible produce is grown, harvested, and packaged by these two wonderful, busy, energized sisters—with barely any additional help!

Fertilized by Fish

Finn and Roots is a year-round hydroponic facility (Keith will educate all of us below!). Their greens and basil are grown in constantly-circulated spring water, and their cucumbers are grown in water fertilized by five enormous tanks that house a ton of tilapia (whom they’ve named and love!).  

What’s most incredible to me is the constant succession the operation demands. Take lettuce, for instance; tiny seeds become seedlings ready to plant in about 2 weeks. From that point to harvest is only about 4-5 weeks. 

So they’re constantly starting new seedlings, tending small plants, transplanting to grow tables, tending the water system, harvesting when ready, packaging, and shipping out to lucky stores like ours. It takes so much work to bring their product to market, something most of us are unaware of and take for granted.

Taste the Love

I asked Holly if she ever takes vacations from such a labor-intensive operation. Her answer made me realize why their products are so beautiful. “Every day working here is like a vacation for me. I simply love what I do.” 

It’s evident in how the place looks, how Holly and Heather seamlessly run things, how the tilapia swim to the surface of the tanks when they hear the owners’ voices. LOVE is what makes this place and product so special. Ok, Keith, let’s talk hydroponics:

Hydroponics 101

Hydroponic farming is a method of growing plants without soil, and holds immense significance in fortifying the resilience of our food system. By leveraging innovative techniques such as nutrient-rich water solutions and controlled environments, hydroponics enables cultivation in diverse climates and regions, mitigating the risks associated with traditional agriculture, such as adverse weather conditions or soil degradation.

This is really important so food production can take place on a consistent basis even with unpredictable environmental challenges. Hydroponics often require less water and land compared to conventional farming methods, making them really great for urban areas where space is limited. Even better, this ensures more food for more people in densely populated regions.

A More Resilient Food System

This contributes to healthier eating habits, and it also reduces the carbon footprint caused by transporting produce over long distances. By providing a consistent and sustainable source of fresh food, hydroponic farming creates a more resilient and accessible food system that can adapt to the evolving needs and challenges of our modern world. 

We’re proud to partner with local hydroponic growers like Underwood Greenhouse in Shushan, NY,  Finn and Roots in Bakersfield, VT, and Green Mountain Harvest in Waitsfield, VT. 

Look for these local offerings in each of our locations or add them to your cart below. To help you find and support your favorite local producers we have  new signage that lets you dive deeper into what they do, where they’re located, and their well-deserved certifications.


Thanks, Keith for lending your hydroponics knowledge!

I would love to hear your thoughts about the incredible products below. I consider myself fortunate to carry them in our stores, and to have spent the afternoon with Holly and Heather in their beautiful (and warm, humid, brightly lit, totally awesome) greenhouse! 

Here’s to fresh, local greens year-round!

Hydroponic Produce We Love

Grab some of our favorite picks today!