I recently took a quick 2-day trip over top Tampa to visit our 2 stores there. I had a fantastic time at both the Downtown Tampa location in Skypoint and our Westchase location. I had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends, one of which is Carlos Corcho or "DJ Chang" as many of us know him as from "back in the day". Carlos has been a HUGE supporter for Pizza Fusion and is simply just an amazing guy with a genuine care for the planet, organics and sustainability. Several months back he mentioned a local farm called "3 Boys Farm" located in Ruskin about 30 minutes outside of Tampa. Carlos was kind enough to set-up a meeting and tour of their facility the day I was leaving town and I thought it would be a great experience if me and my team visit these guys just to see their operation. There's nothing better than connecting with the folks that grow our food. To get a real sense of who they are and why they are so passionate about organic food. Not to mention, it gives me a sense of pride to truly know exactly where the food Pizza Fusion serves comes from. After traveling through some of the most undesirable parts of the Tampa burbs, and through the winding peaks and valleys of the Tampa Mountains, or landfills as you may know them as, we wind up at the "cute" little farm in the middle of nowhere. VERY unsuspecting. When you first pull up, you realize that this isn't any ordinary farm. From the solar panels to the wind turbines, something special is going on.
We were immediately introduced to Robert Tornello, the proprietor and farmer and from the second he started talking, I was mesmerized by his passion and knowledge for organics and farming in general. Robert originally had a successful career as a bamboo nursery owner and landscape designer who has designed environments for Disney, Universal and clients around the globe. If you;ve ever been to the panda exhibit at The San Diego Zoo, Robert Tornello and Co. designed it and grew the organic bamboo and tress that were utilized in the exhibit. Now he's focusing on the sustainable project he always dreamed of... a sustainable and organic farm that can grow fresh produce all year round in ANY environment. I know, sounds like some mumbo-jumbo, but he's done it! He has leading experts from all over the world flying in to see the proof.
Robert, Michael and his team have thought of every single aspect of the farming process and thought through every possibility to make this a fully-sustainable operation. From the wind-turbines that sit outside the greenhouse exhaust fans, that actually power the exhaust fans to the numerous greenhouse gutters that capture rainwater for use on the farm, saving the farm from pumping an estimated 12,000 gallons of groundwater every day, this place is Disney World for farming. I have included a video for you at the end of this post to get a MUCH better feel for some of the amazing things they do at 3 Boys Farm. Robert is a true pioneer and is soon to be awarded Organic Certification, being the FIRST certified organic hydroponic farm in the United States!
We are hoping to have LIVING vegetables grown in their facility and delivered to our restaurants within hours! If that's not awesome, then not much else is. 100% Local, Organic produce grown right here in our backyard. Since it's in a greenhouse environment, we can grown ANYTHING all year 'round. Suck on that Papa John!