Meet the Modern Farmers: Rick “Cardo” Orndoff

Cardo in his blackberry patch, summer 2015

Throughout this coming farmers market season we’ll get to know the modern farmers, ranchers & producers who work so hard to provide food to the North Texas community.
This week we meet “Cardo”, owner of Cardo’s Sprout Farm.

It all took off for Cardo in the 70’s. He first began growing sprouts big time to stock the salad bars at Dallas area Steak n’ Ale restaurants,and then the shelves the first Whole Foods in the metroplex. Then, through the 80’s & 90’s, Cardo’s Sprout Farm supplied five Whole Food stores and a handful of other big and small accounts, which surprisingly included Pizza Inn restaurants and a Neiman Marcus store café!

Before any of that Cardo was growing sprouts as a hobby. He had attended a free sprouting workshop in college, grew fresh greens for his friends and young family, and especially enjoyed the practice during the bitter cold winter months of a brief residency in Montana.

“Growing has always been a hobby that became a full time job,” declared Cardo. These days 67- year-old Cardo is retired from sprouting. He says it’s something that he was happy to get away from. He still lives and works the same 9 acre patch of land in Ponder, Texas where his sprout farm took off. In recent years he has planted a wide variety of fruit trees. He explained that he “always dreamed of growing all kinds of fruit!” His fruit tree project is ongoing and between the young trees there is plenty of space to grow veggies. “I am interested in new and different varieties like a hairy, peach fuzz tomato that I learned about from a chef. Look out for a crimson colored turnip later this spring!” he said.

If you visit Cardo’s Sprout Farm at the Coppell Farmers Market you’ll find a beautiful variety of colorful field grown crops and microgreens. Micro greens are his latest signature offering. All of which he grows using organic practices, by the way. If Cardo’s specialty veggies and health-packed microgreens don’t suit your fancy, you’re sure to enjoy a flush of blackberries  come late June!



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