Gardyner Spotlight: Randy Bezdek uses Gardyn in Alaska Pizzeria

Published Jun 28, 2021

Meet Randy Bezdek, owner of The Hungry Robot in Fairbanks, Alaska. Unable to serve his customers the quality ingredients they deserve, it was impossible for Randy to source fresh produce in his remote area due to shipping prices that drive up the cost of nearly everything.

Until Randy found Gardyn.

This small business owner uses his Gardyn exclusively for the basil that tops his from-scratch wood-fired pizzas.

Now, Randy and his team at The Hungry Robot are serving up Classic Margherita pizzas topped with basil harvested fresh from his Gardyn, further enhancing the flavors of his homemade red tomato sauce.

Imagine a world where fresh produce is always local and available. Even in the midst of an Alaskan winter…

At Gardyn, we’re dreaming big to provide people anywhere and everywhere with nutritious food and flavors from around the globe – like fresh basil in Alaska that tastes like it’s harvested straight from a garden in Italy!

Inequalities in the access to quality food are still blatant and there’s a solution to this worldwide problem. We want the Gardyn technology to be part of solving these issues and give everyone access to healthy food. 

Enjoy Randy’s story!

Gardyn: What made you want to decide to become a Gardyner?

Randy Bezdek: My wife and I own The Hungry Robot, a wood-fired pizza shop in Fairbanks, Alaska, and we are always trying to source locally grown produce. Being Alaska, there is a long winter here, where no fresh produce or herbs are available.

I always wanted to try a hydroponic setup and started researching systems. I previously was an IT guy for the Federal Government and the Gardyn App is what sold me on the Gardyn. It was aesthetically pleasing as well, which helps in a commercial environment.

Randy Bezdek and his tower of basil.

Gardyn: In the Gardyner’s Facebook group, you mentioned you use your Gardyn for basil to add to your fresh pizzas, and you were featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. (That’s so cool!) We’d love to hear more about how your basil is doing!

RB: We currently only have one Gardyn but we are planning on buying at least 5 more once the App is able to support multiple devices.

We could possibly need around 10-14 of them total with our current levels of Basil use. The quality of basil we are getting out of the Gardyn is night and day compared to what we were buying.  A lot of the basil we were getting was frozen in transit so was…  questionable… 

Now I harvest, we chiffonade it, use it on Margherita pizzas, it couldn’t be fresher.  If we can get enough, we also make our fresh pesto with it.  That doesn’t happen often though until we can get more units. 

We implemented it after our Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives episode so it didn’t show up on there, but our thing has always been fresh, local ingredients so growing our own was an easy sell for me.

Gardyn: What is your favorite plant to harvest right now and how do you use it?

RB: Basil! We use the harvested basil for Margherita pizzas and occasionally pesto if we can get enough of it. I would like to grow some fresh salad ingredients when I get more of them.

The Hungry Robot team adds pizzas to wood-fired ovens that bake to perfection in 90 seconds.

Gardyn: What is your most memorable Gardyning moment?

RB: Pulling all of the Y-Cubes that came with it.  We used our subscription to slowly fill the unit with Basil.

Until then, I was growing everything that came in the box when I bought it. It really made me sad to take out mature plants to replace them with basil, but we need basil more than things like thyme. We just ordered some of the new Purple Basil and I cannot wait to try a batch of Pesto with it.

Gardyn: What most surprised you about using the Gardyn?

RB: How often I ‘forget’ about it.

I grew up with a mother that grew a lot of plants. I never was interested, but with the Gardyn I often forget it is there during the day. If I am not filling it with water or actively harvesting, it is not at the top of my mind.

It really is that easy to use.

Gardyn: What advice would you give to Gardyners just starting out?

RB: Browse the group posts (in the Gardyn Facebook group).  I have ordered additional products just from reading posts and they have all made the whole Gardyn experience even better!

Grapefruit seed extract, algae killing lights, trellis setups… There is a lot of knowledge in there, so I always do a search before asking questions.

Committed to inspiring the desire for healthy and sustainable living, we are proud to shine the spotlight on people using their Gardyns in creative ways and contributing positively to their communities.

Do you have a Gardyn and interested in being featured in a spotlight Q&A? Reach out to [email protected] or fill out our interest form.

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