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Angel Eyes Produce receives United States patent

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NORFOLK - The two local men behind Angel Eyes Produce Inc. have received a patent for their “safe food” technology.

Andrew E. Maslin, Norfolk, and Brooks A. Washburn, Potsdam, received the patent for their “container-based plant husbandry apparatus and controlled horticultural environment.”

The environment optimizes all environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and light cycles in a controlled, sterile environment where pests, molds, fungus, and other hindrances to maximal plant growth may be effectively controlled if not eliminated,” the patent states.

Mr. Maslin said they applied for the patent in November 2005, and he and Mr. Washburn received it in February.

“It’s extremely overwhelming to receive a patent,” he said.

Mr. Maslin, Angel Eyes Produce founder, began as a large-scale produce farmer.

But in 2004 a combination of too much rain and not enough sun caused an epidemic of fungus and molds across his fields, destroying everything and leaving Mr. Maslin with nothing.

That’s when he decided to focus on something he had been successfully experimenting with for a number of years - indoor growing in a climate-controlled environment. His idea was to have a “super grow building” in every community across the United States, providing safe and healthy vine-ripened, hand-picked consumers to consumers year-round.

He contacted Mr. Washburn, a local architect, and the two worked together on the patented Terra-Ponics design for providing high-quality, pollution-free, mineral-enhanced produce.

“No more tractor repairs, no more equipment repairs,” Mr. Maslin said.

The certified organic produce takes place in a sterilized soil, pollution-free, filtered air, climate-controlled environment, using what they call “super grow units.” Lights simulate the sun and provide the heat necessary for the growth of the products.

“The lights heat the facility year-round. It’s more efficient than a greenhouse,” he said, noting there are no outside factors that would cause stress to the produce, giving it a higher nutritional value.

“There are no acid rains. We use a sterilized soil system” that imitates a primitive soil system, Mr. Maslin said. “This soil is sterile, virgin soil. It grows that much better. In here the root systems are second to none.”

That, he said, allows them to grow fresh produce in a healthy environment year-round.

“We’re utilizing Angel Eyes technology. It’s year-round food for people. We’re growing in one year at Angel Eyes what it takes an outside farmer 27 years to do,” he said.

While their operation is located on state Route 310 at a site called “Country Organics,” one of the “super grow units” can be found on a wall at Vino Vidi Vici, a restaurant owned by Crista M. Makdouli and her husband, Tarek, in the Harte Haven Shopping Plaza.

A cabinet contains all the equipment that’s needed to grow produce on the spot at the restaurant and deliver it directly to the customers, according to Mrs. Makdouli.

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