Bryan Ernst, above, has begun growing microgreens hydroponically in the lower level of Bluemkes in downtown Ripon.
Bryan Ernst, above, has begun growing microgreens hydroponically in the lower level of Bluemkes in downtown Ripon.

   Plan to buy “farm-fresh” greens? One Ripon grower suggests shoppers consider skipping the farm entirely.

   Ripon native Bryan Ernst has ditched soil for his crop, and his plants never see daylight until the day they’re delivered.

   But, as he’ll attest, they’re arguably the most flavorful in town.

   At Ernessi Organics, Ernst offers dozens of varieties of “microgreens,” all grown hydroponically on the ground floor of the Bluemke’s building in downtown Ripon.

   “We don’t grow any of our plants in soil — not a single one ... Right now, [we have] close to 20 [varieties in growing trays] but we have up to 53” available, he said, noting many of these varieties may be picked up right in town. “We’re in Ripon Pick ’n Save; we’re in four different Festivals right now. We’re in talks with Woodmans right now ... in the Fox Valley region.”

   They’re also available at various area restaurants, including Christianos, which Ernst now provides basil to for its meals.

Read the full story in the Jan. 8, 2015 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.