We have some exciting news to share. Altamont Farms is expanding with a new property in South Florida.
We did not have a business plan when we started Altamont Farms. The simple truth is that we love good food and have an unbridled curiosity about the natural world around us. We want to raise our children with awareness about where food comes from in an effort to develop a respect for food that naturally leads to a desire to honor it instead of waste it. Before farm-to-fork was a thing, we were eating what we grew, as well as what we raised. We are not zealots about organic but we do practice small-scale farming without chemicals, rely on nature’s pollinators, and preserve seeds for heirloom varieties that are not on the beaten path.
As I have grown older in the tech industry I have come to an acute awareness about the perils of being a 50-something executive in a 20-something business. It is a hard truth but with age and success, I have also gained independence to do what I want to do in life. Altamont Farms started as a late-night (and a couple of bottles of wine) idea into a real thing. And then it picked up speed.
We asked “what if?…”
South Florida is a remarkable climate and ecosystem. Practically everything grows there and with the sub-tropical weather patterns, the growing season is 10 months long. Honeybees don’t slow down in the winter months and the lush ever-growing pastures support livestock of all types. Birds and butterflies are abundant, along with a few of the nastier species.
Water is abundant and the agriculture industry is innovating to minimize water runoff and control nitrogen that is fueling algae blooms. The University of Florida agriculture extension is expansive and supportive of Florida farms with dedicated research on cover crops, honeybees, hydroponics, aquaculture, and a host of other topics.
The influx of seasonal visitors and transplants from the northeast are fueling a dynamic food culture that started in Miami and has since moved to all of the major metro areas. We like the Gulf side of the state for the gorgeous white sand beaches that go on for as long as the eye can see, and the warm and welcoming community.
We think the time is right to develop farm-to-fork, agri-tourism, and food education programs in Florida and we have taken a big step forward with this vision. We recently closed on a 22 acre property located in the Fort Myers area, right on the Caloosahatchee River.
This is a long-term project that will focus on developing the land, building out water and solar power infrastructure, barn and farm utility structures, and of course, a main residence. The organic certification will take three years to complete and we have already started to work with local schools on education opportunities.
Stay tuned for updates as we build out the property, develop a crop rotation plan, and expand the livestock on the property. We are making a big investment in hydroponic growing systems, a new thing for Altamont Farms, and farm robots will be a major factor in development plan. We are building a large enclosed barn and event space with a commercial kitchen and classroom to accomodate in-person and live video streaming education programs for schools and individuals.