Road Sign Touting ‘Hydroponic Tomatoes’ Spurs South Carolinian’s Foray into Indoor Growing

A beginning and end of season view of Hurricane Creek Farms' hydroponic tomatoe greenhouse. Photos courtesy of Jesse Adkins and Hurricane Creek Farms.

A before and end of season view of Hurricane Creek Farms hydroponic tomato greenhouse. Photo courtesy of Jesse Adkins and Hurricane Creek Farms.

Jesse Adkins was working a landscape design and installation job in Pelzer, South Carolina when he saw a sign by the side of the road that read, “Hydroponic Tomatoes.” His curiosity piqued, Adkins sought out the grower, Paul Lee. Lee entertained questions about his operation and hydroponic growing that provided Adkins, a 35 year landscape design and nursery industry veteran, with the impetus to take on a new career challenge.

“It seemed to be a profitable way to grow and offered a way to use marginal land to grow a large amount of clean, healthy produce on a small footprint,” Adkins says.

Under Lee’s tutelage and after taking a short course in hydroponic growing from Mississippi State University, his confidence grew. When Lee retired, Adkins took the plunge and bought his greenhouse and growing equipment. He also procured a USDA loan to buy a second, larger greenhouse to accompany the one built by Lee, and by 2006 his fledgling hydroponic venture Hurricane Creek Farms was up and running. Read more