Columbia, SC (WLTX) - City Roots is located just south of downtown Columbia in the Rosewood neighborhood, less than a mile from Five Points.
This certified organic farm has been here since 2009, when architect Robbie McClam decided to give it a go.
His son, Eric, an architect by education, now manages the day-to-day operation of the farm.
"This time of year we have spinach, beets, carrots, radishes, some turnips. And we grow a lot of micro-greens in our greenhouses year-round," explains Eric.
So, naturally, the farm had to take some precautions against the cold snap that recently hit much of the U.S. Even so, the cold proved to be a bit too much for some of the crops to handle.
"We probably lost close to an acre of lettuce and leafy greens that have frost damage to them," Eric said. "They're not dead, but they're not sellable. Not a lot of vegetables like 15 degrees. Kinda like us, we don't enjoy that as Southerners."
The farm will begin tilling the area and replanting for spring in about a month.
"The frost basically burned them up. They're unsalvageable. It's unfortunate. They're a little slimy looking, a little yellow," Eric explains as he walked me through some of the frost-damaged areas.
The micro-greens, on the other hand, were kept relatively warm in their greenhouses. McClam says the inside of the greenhouses never dropped below 50 degrees. He offered a few tips to help protects your backyard gardens against the cold.
"Mulching with straw or hay over top around the base of those plants," McClam says. "An extra sheet of blanket would help. You want to keep that heat from leaving the soil in the ground, kind of 'tenting' it. Or if you have some extra plastic over top is definitely going to be very helpful, kind of creating a little mini greenhouse."
Also, Eric says you can use some of those old style incandescent Christmas lights on your plants that are more susceptible to the cold. Those bulbs produce a small amount of heat, and in cold weather, every little bit helps.
Aside from simply farming, City Roots also offers educational programs at their farm.
"We want to educate the youth and the public about the benefits of local food, how that helps ones health and nutrition, the environment, and the local economy," Eric says. "We've got everything from kindergarten students to college students to groups in the public that come to the farm to learn about our mushroom production, and how that can be done locally. And also what it means to be a farm and what we can grow in our climate in South Carolina."
If you just want to stop by the farm, they are open every weekday until 5 p.m. and you can also find them at the Soda City Market on Saturdays.
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