It seems like all cutting edge start-up companies begin in someone’s garage or basement, doesn’t it? In 2012 two geologists, Bryan Ernst (Ern-) and Tim Alessi (-essi), began designing a high tech system for growing plants in Bryan’s basement – that wouldn’t use any soil. With a finite amount of land suitable for agriculture, and with the world’s population increasing, the pair was curious to see how densely food could be grown in an urban setting. They experimented for over 2 years with over 50 different plants to see how each responded to this new environment. They manipulated the wavelengths of light the plants received, as well as the pH, CO2, dissolved oxygen and electrical conductivity of the nutrients the plants were given.

In the summer of 2014 Bryan Ernst began selling his high quality produce to local restaurants and grocery stores. Ernessi Farms has since expanded historic downtown Ripon, WI where it continues to grow and expand today

Ernessi Farms is able to grow produce year round by adapting traditional food production methods with their high tech hydroponic growing system. Hydroponics is the growing of plants without using soil. Traditionally, plants absorb nutrients required to grow from the soil. Hydroponics instead delivers a crop specific nutrient blend directly to the roots while they’re suspended in an inert, sterile media. This tailored growth program results in larger yields and faster turn over rates, all without the use of harmful chemicals like pesticides or herbicides.