COLUMBUS, Ohio — James Hu and Andrew Herczak attended Ohio State, both starred on the fencing team and now the friends are business partners, co-owning Columbus Artisan Growers.
The small hydroponic farm grows fresh exotic and artisan greens from around the world.
Although the start up has experienced some ups, downs and pivots during the pandemic, past experience taught them there's no quiting in this team.
“There's a lot of things that we leaned at Ohio State, especially on the fencing team, is I think really, is really a driving factor of why we are doing what we are, especially how we survived through the pandemic, just fighting through everything. That was one of the things our coach really drilled into us,” said Hu.
Herczak, who is originally from Poland, said he's always grown up with a passion for plants and gardening.
He said everyone is looking for quality and organic these days.
The best part for him harvesting for seven local restaurants for edible foods and garnishes.
'These are native to South and southern America. We also harvest them for their flowers as well — has a little kick of spice. A lot of restaurants like that, that unique flavor, plus the unique texture on it,” said Herczak.
Even though hydroponic farming is their new labor of love, Herczak still practices fencing during his down time at their downtown Columbus facility.
Just like many competitors and competitions both have faced in the past, Herczak and Hu said they have aspirations of advancing well beyond the Buckeye State.
“We definitely want to reach everywhere in the United States, even go international. We think the business model of a small hydroponic farm is more viable then we see some of the larger, big players in the field,” said Hu.
For more information on Columbus Artisan Growers, click here.