Two glass conservatories stand as beacons to visitors at the entrance of Southall, symbols of our mission to blend the best of old and new. On one side, thousands of plants are being propagated: annual food producers, but also native flowers, shrubs, trees and vines that produce food or play a role in our symbiotic world. There’s also a classic French orangerie, featuring numerous species of rare and wonderful citrus.
In the other greenhouse, a fully hydroponic and biocontrolled system produces hundreds of pounds of nutrient-rich lettuces and leafy greens each week. As part of our plan to create a true aquaculture environment under the lights inside, hybrid striped bass are being grown to the perfect size in 500-gallon tanks. Soon, those systems will come full circle to support each other.
Modernization in Farming
A state-of-the-art hydroponic grow facility, where an ocean of leafy greens is reaching through a rigid foam base, their full root structures visible in the crystal clear water. At night, the soft pink grow lights help maintain optimal conditions to produce 400 pounds of show-perfect lettuces each week for Southall guests.
Seed to Sprout
In the propagation greenhouse, tens of thousands of seedlings are being sprouted and hardened off to be planted out on the farm. Seasonality drives the selection, from pest-deterring companion flowers such asnasturtiums and marigolds to native shrubs and vines to herbs, berries and Brown’s hand-selected array of vegetables. It’s what he calls the “Noah’s Ark of Taste,” sourced from coast to coast and around the globe–you might find black currants being started next to a native Tennessee clematis, or French lavender growing alongside an Indian blood peach tree seedling, just waiting to go in the ground.
There’s no wasted space in this greenhouse, which also includes the Orangerie: here, Persian limes and variegated Meyer lemons grow next to kumquats and tangelos, all selected with a future menu in mind. It’s about daily experimentation in the kitchen, and learning how to maximize the Southall footprint to create a food-producing oasis rooted in the values of permaculture, and preservation of the landscape.
Hybrid Striped Bass
Tanks full of hybrid striped bass are under the same roof, spinning off a natural liquid fertilizer for the vegetables as they grow to fillet size for the table.