C Lazy U to grow greens in new container farm

Sky-Hi News staff report
A truck delivers a Vertical Hydropolic Farm to C Lazy U Ranch on Wednesday. The ranch will use the farm, built in a repurposed shipping container by FarmBox Foods, to grow leafy greens and maybe even tree saplings.
Jason Brown / FarmBox Foods

C Lazy U is using a container farm to broaden its focus on farm-to-table options for guests.

The ranch’s culinary program will soon be growing some of its leafy greens on site in an automated Vertical Hydroponic Farm built by Colorado-based FarmBox Foods. The container farm was delivered Wednesday, and its exterior will be decorated with a rustic style to blend in with its surroundings

“We saw an opportunity with FarmBox Foods to essentially have a year-round farm-to-table option,” said Paul Klees, assistant general manager of C Lazy U Ranch.

Guests will have the opportunity to tour the climate-controlled farm — based inside a repurposed shipping container — to see where the food they’re eating is grown.

The ranch plans to grow lettuce and culinary herbs inside the 320-square-foot farm, where the entire growing process takes place from seed to harvest. C Lazy U may also grow tree saplings to help replace some of the trees lost at the ranch in the East Troublesome Fire.

The sensor-based technology and insulation in the container farm work better for growing than greenhouses, which can be susceptible to the cold, Klees said.

“(This is) just another step in the ranch’s continuing effort to create authentic farm-to-table dining,” Klees said. “There are economic aspects to it because we’re shipping in all of the food, including produce. When guests eat at our restaurants, we want the meals to resonate with them, and what people are looking for is healthy, organic, fresh produce.”

The 320-square-foot shipping container will grow lettuce and culinary herbs for C Lazy U utilizing hydroponic water systems that use 90% less water than traditional farms, according to FarmBox Foods.
FarmBox Foods

C Lazy U has a few other sustainability efforts already underway, including growing most of the hay to feed the ranch’s 200 horses on site, using its own spring for its water supply, and operating its own wastewater facilities.

C Lazy U began tending beehives last year, and Klees described the move as a “huge win” because both tours and ranch honey have become popular among visitors. The container farm is slated to be the next hands-on attraction at the ranch, where guests and members could have the opportunity to harvest their own veggies and prepare meals with a chef.

“It’s interactive, it’s educational, and it builds into our vision and mission statement of having a sustainable model,” Klees said.

FarmBox Foods is based in Sedalia and has spent four year developing automated farms in shipping containers. The container farms use hydroponic water systems that consume 90% less water than traditional farms in a fully controlled growing environment, according to the company.

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