Tulsa Entrepreneurs Feed Need For Local, Fresh Green Veggies

Friday, May 20th 2016, 9:50 am
By: News On 6

Fresh herbs and greens available year-round, even in wintertime, in the past that just wasn't possible in Tulsa, but now thanks to a couple of young entrepreneurs it is.

Where does the Stonehorse Cafe in Tulsa's Utica Square get its gorgeous greens? California or Florida?  Nope, they were raised indoors in west Tulsa. 

"We have 1,068 growing towers and right now we're growing about forty varieties of lettuces, leafy greens and herbs," said John Sulton.  

Sulton is co-owner of Scissortail Farms. A few years ago, he was working at NORDAM, building and repairing airplanes.  

"We saw a lot of this food was coming from different states or countries and saw that something needs to change to bring this to the local environment, we're from Tulsa and it just seemed like a great opportunity," said John Sulton.

From aeronautics to aeroponics.

"It's volcanic rock, it's basically just an inner material that's very porous that helps transmit the water," said John Sulton.

Before their vegetables wind up on store shelves, it starts at their west Tulsa facility, This is the propagation room.  You can see these are just little bitty plants, most of them are gonna be in here about two or three weeks and when they're big enough, they'll be transplanted out. 

The produce is then harvested and shipped fresh to restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and in Arkansas.  They also package some of their produce in-house for sale in Reasor's Supermarkets.  

"We've learned a lot about spinach and we're growing a lot for uh, Reasor's,they're our number one partner for spinach," said John Sulton.

John won't reveal the startup costs for Scissortail Farms, but admits it's significant.  Cutting edge technology isn't cheap.  Computers can raise and lower the roof automatically and the growing towers are far more efficient than soil.  

"We use about ten percent of the water you would typically use," said John Sulton.  

John and his business partner, Rob Walenta employ about a dozen people right now, but they have plans to expand into the tomato business.