Superior Fresh at the forefront of aquaponics trend

HIXTON, Wis. - If you find yourself eating locally grown, organic lettuce this winter and wonder how that’s possible, it’s probably because of a Wisconsin-based aquaponics firm. On a Native Restoration Sanctuary in the Coulee Region, about 60-miles from the Minnesota border, the company Superior Fresh has built a recirculated aquaculture facility and hydroponic greenhouse.

For those unfamiliar with aquaponics, the most basic definition is that it’s the combination of aquaculture (to raise and harvest fish) and hydroponics (to grow plants without soil). In even simpler terms, the fish waste feeds the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish.

The Superior Fresh facility uses nitrate-rich water from fish held in the aquaculture tanks to fertilize and water leafy greens in its greenhouse, which has recently doubled in size to 250,000 square-feet. The company is able to produce fresh products year-round, while maintaining a water-sustaining zero-discharge.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an organic, sustainable operation that can match the latitude of Superior Fresh.

“We have no chemicals, no antibiotics, no pesticides and are non-GMO — even our fish food is certified organic,” said Kurt Wagaman, general manager of Superior Fresh. “To grow what we have on about two-acres under glass, you’d need about 60-acres of conventional land.”

The company grows more than 100,000 pounds of leafy greens a month, Wagaman said.

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