By Carol McCracken (Post # 758)
Eric Cayer has a lot going on behind those gray garage doors at 200 Anderson Street, although it might not look like that from the outside. What was once a garage Cayer has cleaned out, significantly added onto and now houses at least several start-up businesses in an area of about 1,000 sq. ft – intended to provide consumers with good, locally grown food & drink in a space that also teaches those interested how to duplicate some of the urban farming happening there – in the up and coming East Bayside area of Portland.
Although UFF moved into the property just over two years ago, one of the newest projects there is run by Tyler Gaudet. In January, he installed a “brood stock tank” there in which he breeds the fresh water African fish, Tilapia. For too long this fish has been ignored, but now it is coming back to the dinner table said Gaudet. It’s easy to grow because it’s fast growing and is a hardy fish. In this two part tank, Gaudet keeps one male fish and five females for breeding. He collects the eggs and takes them home where he carefully raises them because they are so vulnerable. Later this spring, they will be moved to a greenhouse that is under construction in the back of the building. It’s expected the fish will be ready for sale in the fall to local restaurants – several of which have already expressed interest in the locally raised Tilapia. The entire process is called aquaponics.
Cayer’s pet project is and has been for years the fermentation of cider. He has 32 fermentation tanks a few of which are for mead as well. Currently, he’s selling the hard cider on tap to restaurants and bars in the area; Vinola, PepperClub Empire Dine & Danc and NOSH are some of his customers. By the first of May, Cayer will be selling bottled hard cider to the public – from his location at 200 Anderson Street. A standard wine size bottle will sell for about $12. $14. Also for retail at this new venue will be honies and plant starts such as tomatoes, basil and salad greens.
Gretchen Voight, a new intern at UFF said: ‘This is a free and open place. It’s very community based.”
Please visit www.urbanfarmfermentory.com for more information.