Collaboration revives hydroponic garden at Two Meatballs restaurant

April 13, 2023

Two Meatballs Deli & Pizza in Millsboro recently shared a Facebook post saying the basil and parsley growing in its hydroponic wall system had died.

New owner Nestor Reyes and his staff found help with collaboration from Delaware Cooperative Extension, Sussex County Master Gardeners and the Plant Science Department at the University of Delaware, where undergraduate student Tommy Kramer also serves as UD’s Hydroponics Club president.

Kramer guided the restaurant staff and two Master Gardeners volunteers to help get the right materials to revive the system, planting the seeds to produce the plants, and then planting the seedlings into the channels of the hydroponic system mounted on a wall in the restaurant.

The hydroponic garden uses two small pumps to provide water for the plants through a drip and wicking system. Grow lights provide 16 hours of light for the plants, which soon will be ready for harvest, and undoubtedly will appear in a variety of dishes served at the restaurant.

“The basil wall is a great resource for us at Two Meatballs. We use fresh basil in everything from pasta, pesto and pizza to our fresh caprese sandwiches and salads,” said Emily Clark, who oversees the restaurant’s hydroponic system. “We were sad when the plants died. And at first, we weren’t sure who to call to help us bring it back to life. We are very thankful for our community and this ongoing adventure.”

“We use local produce as much as possible and make most of our dishes from scratch,” Reyes said. “This will help us support our farm-to-table views about preparing food.”

“This project is classic Delaware Cooperative Extension at work – making connections for our local community,” said Tracy Wootten, UD horticultural agent for Sussex County Cooperative Extension.

For more information about UD’s hydroponic program, go to


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