“We come every week for aquaponic lettuce. We have to, its amazing! Melt in your mouth delicious. We are addicted”
That quote was from one of our Winter Market shoppers and the lettuce she is referring to is from Koss Family Farms. Steve and Kathy Koss were traditional row croppers who had a vision to expand their business and sustainably grow chemical-free specialty crops by building an aquaponics system on their property. After years of research Steve Koss, Kathy Koss, and their daughter Mindy Romano decided to take the leap and in 2018 Koss Family Farms aquaponics was birthed.
After hearing feedback from our market shoppers I had to go check out Koss Family Farms for myself. When I pulled into the drive I was greeted by two very friendly farm dogs and Mindy Romano, co-owner and Steve and Kathy’s Daughter. The facility is beautiful. The first thing I noticed upon walking in was the banana tree directly in front of me and the strawberries growing to my left. “We just want to have fun with this. See what we can grow and really try to produce things that wouldn’t normally be in season or in Illinois at all” said Mindy. “We want to listen to our shoppers and we think that if we can figure out how to grow strawberries all year round they would love that”.
Koss Family Farms is a family owned and operated business. Mindy focuses on growing and sales but has recently hired a sales and delivery staff member so that she can focus most of her time and attention on the growing aspect of their business. “Right now we are only producing half of what is possible in this greenhouse, but I plan on devoting more time to growing in the future.” Aside from being at the Champaign-Urbana Winter Market every Saturday through April, Koss Family Farms also sells lettuce to local restaurants like The Fieldhouse, Three Ravens, and Holly’s Country Kitchen. Shoppers can also order their products online at marketwagon.com.