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Urban Oasis Opens Today For Fall Harvest

The hydroponic farm has extended its fall hours and has new features for customers.

It doesn't get more local than Urban Oasis Farm on Linebaugh Avenue. Just ask John Carminati, resident farm chef and assistant. Ask him where the farm's produce comes from and he'll point less than 10 feet away to rows upon rows of hydroponic potting systems.

Owners Dave and Cathy Hume opened the farm five years ago and made it their point to provide local, chemical-free produce -- in other words, the freshest and best that the season has to offer to consumers.

Urban Oasis sets itself a part in that no soil is used to grow its produce. The hydroponic farming technique uses alternate growing mediums that can be re-used and recycled. Balanced nutrition levels are dissolved into water so that each plant gets the desired amount of food directly into its roots.

The farmers market is open on Fridays and Saturdays year round, but the fall farmer's market which began this month wil have extended hours. It will now be open on Fridays 10:00a.m.-6:00p.m. and on Sundays 10:00a.m.-4:00p.m.

Oasis goers will also be greeted with some new extras at the farm.

"They're definitely going to see a larger quantity," said Cathy Humes, explaining the farm has nearly doubled in size, which means much more produce.

To accommodate the larger scale, the Humes have added more parking spaces and added some fun -- a new observation window has been installed so shoppers can view honey bees hard at work.

"It's mostly for the kids," said Dave Hume, about the bee observation window. "They need to know a cucumber doesn't come from a back room in Publix, but from a plant."

The Humes and Carminati are big on educating the public about the benefits of local eating.

Among the benefits of buying from Urban Oasis is never having to worry about where the vegetables come from, Carminati explained. Because of the proximity the farm "harvests its produce today for tomorrow," he explained. A result is a fresh, tasty vegetable or herb.

Each season the farm focuses on a different group of crops. In addition to what's grown on the farm, the market offers local, farm-fresh eggs, honey and grass-fed beef.

This season's crop lineup includes tomatoes, lettuce, arugula, bok choi, cucumbers, peppers, swiss chard, collard greens, sorrel, okra, eggplant, squash, green beans, scallions, kale, radish and herbs.

Chef Carminati is looking forward to using many of the ingredients in his occasional cooking demonstration, which are held at the market throughout the season.

"I love doing things that add in backyard edibles," Carminati said. "I'm an on the fly kind of chef."

Urban Oasis Hydroponic Farm is located at 5416 W. Linebaugh Ave. Tampa, Fl 33624. Learn more at www.urbanoasis.com or contact them at (813) 293-FARM. You can also find them on Facebook.

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