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11 Products Hydroponic Farmers Grow To Boost Profits

”Growing greenhouse vegetables is one of the most exacting and intense forms of all agricultural enterprises. In combination with greenhouses, hydroponics is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Japan. It is high technology and capital intensive. It is highly productive, conservative of water and land and protective of the environment.” - Merle H. Jensen

Hydroponic Farms

Deep-flow hydroponics is ramping up worldwide, and farmers must find products with high yields and higher margins to repay loans and investors successfully.  Boosting profit, increasing volume, and building vertically integrated markets reduce cost, improve productivity, and expand reach. 

Hydroponic farmers grow a series of products and must factor in production costs, including water, electricity, and labor. Growing products that look good and taste delicious is important to attract customers. When local chefs and consumers are looking for sweet flavor profiles, greens, herbs, and edible flowers, they not only want volume and uniqueness, but consistency is also important. 


Hydroponic Farmers Boost Profits

These 11 products, if grown well, can be the most profitable for a water-based farmer: 

  1. Microgreens pack a flavor-forward punch in fresh dishes and are ready for harvest in 2-4 weeks of germination. Some varieties are Radish, Broccoli, Peas, Cabbage, Kale, Arugula, Carrot, and basil. Microgreens can boost profits typically yields a 20%-60% net profit margin on nutrient-dense products. 


  1. Lettuce has many varieties and can be grown using heirloom or organic seeds. It has exotic flavor profiles and colorful, rich leaves. The product can be grown in a 4-7 week cycle and has an average of a 40% profit margin. 

Water-Based Lettuce

  1. Herbs are grown for taste and fragrance, and there are hundreds of varieties to choose from. Most herbs mature within 3-4 weeks and sell for $1-$3 per ounce. 


  1. Ginseng grown hydroponically can produce a high-quality product comparable to that of wild Gensing in the fields of rural Alabama. A 21-day maturity in large root pots containing coconut husk and LECA stone helps with purity, as most crops are grown with herbicides and pesticides. Wild foragers sometimes yield up to $900/lb., but they require a permit to pick and sell in most states. Hydroponic farmers can boost profits by doubling germination and growing vertically.


  1. Edible Flowers grown hydroponically are a great source of nutrients for tinctures and the James Beard Award-winning dish, creating a pop of color on a dish. In some case studies, the flower market can yield a 60% profit margin, but the average sits around 30%. 

Edible Flowers

  1. Tomatoes are some of the most abundant fruits in demand for soups, sauces, dehydrated, and much more! Buyers want a unique heirloom variety, colorful and sweet, with a great backstory of the seed that was saved and stored for generations to come.  Tomatoes run about a 10%-25% profit margin and can be grown on contract with chefs and local restaurants for use in specialty recipes. 


  1. Strawberries are the easiest berries to grow in a deep-flow hydroponic system. Water-based farming eliminates pesticides, vermin, and poor soil conditions. The growing and fruiting process takes about 8-12 weeks in total, from flowering to full fruiting - offering a 30% profit margin. 


  1. Cucumbers require a lot of water and nutrients and have a pH of 5-6. The best mediums for growing cucumbers are coconut husks and rock wool. Germination takes about 3-10 days, and time to maturity takes 50-70 days. 


  1. Peppers grown hydroponically require a higher level of humidity. Labor costs are typically higher than most other products grown in water-based applications. 


  1. Radish grown in water-based applications typically germinates over 80% of the seeds and yields 70% of the product. With names like Watermelon Sweet and French Breakfast, this high-yielding, crunchy, and spicy root vegetable brings a new dimension into culinary roots. Recipes with unique salad recipes, french tasting menus, and taco trucks thrive on offering radishes to their customers. This market yields between 25% and 35% profit margin in wholesale and retail environments. 


  1. Squash blossoms and yummy Italian squash feel like homemade soup and Fall mash with rustic spices like cinnamon and clove.  When grown hydroponically on the bush, squash is high-yielding, and the blossoms are delicious when deep-fried.  Squash requires labor and little equipment; each plant can yield over 50 squash when growing indoors.  Net Profit margins run at 30% in the retail market. 

Squash Blossom

If you are interested in learning more about hydroponic farms in the U.S., contact your local agricultural cooperative extension office or click the link to Foraging and Farming

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