Hamby Catering & Events has announced a new partnership with Vertical Roots, a Charleston-based agriculture company that utilizes retired shipping containers to grow leafy greens in an indoor, fully automated, vertical farm. Vertical Roots will become Hamby Catering’s exclusive lettuce provider, celebrating the first direct partnership between Vertical Roots and a catering company.
Hamby Catering now features the locally grown lettuce in all wedding and event catering menus as well as grab-and-go items at The Market at Hamby, its retail location at 925 St. Andrews Boulevard in West Ashley.
Hamby says the new partnership is rooted in a shared passion for locally sourced products and the positive impacts that local farming has on the environment, economy, and overall health of the community. The catering company said that "nearly 95 percent of all leafy greens currently come from the West Coast, which can add up to a 2,000 mile and two week travel period from harvest to distribution and result in loss of freshness." Vertical Roots will be growing Hamby Catering’s lettuce on Daniel Island, 16 miles away from Hamby Catering’s home base in West Ashley.
“Being part of the Charleston community for 40 years makes it all the more important for us to support the community that has so graciously supported us,” Candice Wigfield, President of Hamby Catering, said. “As members of Lowcountry Local First, we’ve built relationships with local purveyors that have helped us realize the significance of working with local organizations, even if it costs us a little bit more! As a personal salad enthusiast, this partnership with Vertical Roots has been particularly exciting; I’m passionately picky about my lettuce!”
Equipped with LED lighting and soil-less hydroponic systems, Vertical Roots delivers fresh, chemical-free vegetables year-round. Their growing pods are automated and climate-controlled, which greatly reduces water, energy, and contamination risks. The pods use 98 percent less water than traditional farming methods, helping deliver the highest possible yield with the lowest possible waste.
“Hamby Catering is a first-class operation and we are thrilled to partner with them,” Shelby Weimer, Marketing Strategist for Vertical Roots, said. “Our shared mission and common values, particularly when it comes to being mindful of our environmental impact, make us a natural and powerful team.”
Vertical Roots products are currently served in more than 80 restaurants across Charleston and the surrounding areas, as well as in local schools. Vertical Roots produce can be purchased at Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Lowes Foods, Earth Fare, Food Lion and, in the coming months, Publix.