Once I did my research on aquaponics and I knew I wanted to have a system as a part of my “farm” project, I did the next logical thing…talked to Zac Hosler. He designed and built a system to meet my needs. I appreciated the practicality and experience that he brought to my project. I also appreciated that he ‘got’ my vision and designed a system that has room to grow and expand as I have time and money.
Zac Hosler is an Island boy; raised in Kauai and Northern California, he now lives in Honaunau with his beautiful wife and two adorable sons. Zac started his aquaponics farm Living Aquaponics Inc. in 2010 after taking classes from Friendly Aquaponics also located here on the Big Island.
Living Aquaponics Inc. is a large commercial size operation with 12 growing troughs that are 4 feet wide by 80 feet long. His 3,000-gallon fish tank holds roughly 1,500 pounds of fish.
Zac and his interns plant 3,000 to 4,000 plants each week and harvest between 350 to 600 pounds of produce a week. There is a large difference between 350 lbs. and 600 lbs. How does that work? Well, like any other form of farming, the time of year, pests, and other factors play a role in the over all production of fruits and vegetables.
What are they harvesting, you may ask? Zac and his team are growing the following veggies and herbs: mint, basil, water cress, lettuce (10 varieties), green onions, bok choy, celery, beets, string beans, taro, and tomatoes.
Zac uses the nutrient rich water from his aquaponics system to water his wheat grass, ginger, lilikoi, papayas, bananas, and has revived a mango tree that was near death.
Zac shared with me that some people have even installed drip irrigation systems that pull the nutrient rich water from their aquaponics system to water the rest of their crops. I mentioned in the post ‘The Benefits of Aquaponics‘ that aquaponics uses 97% less water than traditional farming and that you rarely have to refill your system with water. It may be obvious to mention this, but I just thought I would any way, if you are draining water from your system to irrigate other crops then you will have to replenish water to your system from time to time in which case the 97% less water would not apply.
Zac’s produce can be found in high-end restaurants all around our Island. You may wonder where can you purchase Zac’s produce. Zac has a booth at the Saturday Keauhou Farmers Market. The Living Aquaponics booth is on the ocean side next to When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie Company. Speaking of When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie tune in tomorrow to see what Chef Devin Lowder does with the vegetables we got from Zac’s farm.
I would like to end this post with a question I get regularly. Can Zac design a system for me? The answer…Yes! Zac has designed systems for people that range from a counter top herb system to my size system.
You can contact Zac by email zac at livingaquaponics.com or drop by the market and buy some of his great produce and have a chat. I know from personal experience that he won’t make you feel silly if you ask a really basic questions. I know from personal experience.
Until next time, Love,