A secret lies over a hill on a quite road in Karnack, Texas. The sign at Doodley Dee’s Farm reads slow down. That’s the secret .They have. And it’s resulted in them growing some of the healthiest food on the planet.
Kevin Schmidt and his mother Dee Dee are the minds behind the farm.
“The family farm was started by my mother’s desire to give all of her children good, clean, wholesome food,” shared Schmidt.
They began growing vegetables for the family. People started asking if they could buy the produce. From there it grew. Now their pet project turns out advanced hydroponic and aquaponic organic produce on a commercial scale.
Here’s how it works. They capture rain from the roof . One inch generates 3,400 gallons of water. The water’s stored and filtered through reverse osmosis. Then it’s fed into tanks full of coy fish. The fish eat organic food. Their waste in the water becomes the nutrients and nitrates the plants need.
“It is pumped from here through the greenhouse and all the plants,” said Schmidt. “We don’t use any soil at all. It’s all grown in the water.”
Gravity keeps the water moving so very little is lost, yielding amazing results.
“We are able to grow food with one-tenth of the water… 10 times as much food per-square foot… all in a very clean healthy way,” explained Schmidt. “It’s immediately distinguishable whenever you take a bite of it.”
It’s why people from all over the world are visiting the farm, to learn Kevin’s methods and try and duplicate them.
“We’ve had people from South America, all over North America,” Schmidt said. “Just had a group from China. Another group from China is coming out.”
He likes the idea of feeding the world this amazingly healthy food, but he’s starting with his own backyard. Students at Karnack Independent School District get a salad for lunch each day made from Schmidt’s produce. So do students in Jefferson and Longview. All of these students are eating some of the healthiest food in the world and they don’t even know it.
“It’s good to know that you are getting something that a lot of schools in the area are not getting,” said Joe Griffin, Food Director, Karnack ISD.
Griffin says the Texas Department of Agriculture is encouraging schools to buy local and he’s happy to oblige. Every Thursday morning the delivery is made.
“It’s all beautiful produce,” said Griffin. “It’s just so fresh it’s unreal. And it last longer. It holds up very well. It pleases me that I can do this for our children. They’re good kids.”
It pleases Schmidt. too.
“That makes you really, really feel good. That my mother, and then I, came up with this idea for our own family that is helping transform the health of so many others around the community,” shared Schmidt.
That’s why he’s sharing the secret with anyone willing to venture over a hill, on a quiet road in Karnack, Texas.
“It is very gratifying,” said Schmidt. “It’s really nice whenever somebody comes out and they are smiling, and they are overwhelmed and they go, ‘God this is just fantastic.'”