Brighton Cookery School’s Chef Patron, Messa Ben, went to visit his old chef friend, Antonio Paladino, at his Bioaqua Farm in Somerset.
“Fresh, Healthy Vegetables & Fish, LESS Impact on the Planet”
Antonio built and runs the biggest integrated aquaponics trout farm in Europe. He grows vegetables and rears Rainbow Trout in the most sustainable and ethical way, by using a bio-symbiotic system. He has bees to pollinate the plants and worms sustaining the cycle of the system. No chemicals or pesticides are used, creating a naturally organic system.
This certainly comes across in the incredible flavour of the food he produces. Our Messa Ben is not a fan of trout, and with his friend about to serve him some for lunch, he was a little concerned, until he tasted it! He’d watched as the fresh Rainbow Trout was taken from the pond, killed immediately in the most humane way, using a Japanese technique, then gutted and filleted. He’s not stopped raving ever since about the beautiful sweet flavour of the fish, a far cry from the muddy taste he was used to.
Watch Antonio explain the practice as he fillets the trout.
“If you can smell it, you can taste it.”
So what is Aquaponics?
It’s the combined culture of the fish and plants in a recirculating system. The fish waste generates the nutrients needed and absorbed by the plants that are cultured in water – that’s right NO SOIL!
As the fish waste flows through the cultured plant component of the recirculating water system, the fish waste metabolites are removed by the nitrification and direct uptake by the plants. This treats the water, which then flows back to the fish rearing component for reuse. This system uses 95% LESS water than traditional horticulture farming!
Check out Messa Ben’s walk around one of the aquaponics greenhouses at Antonio’s farm
The most exciting thing for us is that you can do this almost anywhere with just a little space. They even farm using this system in deserts! So here at Brighton Cookery School we thought, yes please! So watch this space folks, a Brighton Cookery School BioAqua Farm, why not? We’d love to be able to invite our corporate or celebratory cookery session guests to see this set up in action and pick the vegetables they’d like to have served with their sumptuous feast.
It’s a vision for our future and what a good one to have, less impact on our planet, ethical farming solution, organic produce and the tastiest food from farm to table.