“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make” ~ Jane Goodall
At Living Greens Farm in Faribault they are taking sustainability to new heights. Their impact on how produce is grown is significant.
John and I had the pleasure of touring Living Greens Farm with company CTO, Dave Augustine last week. They are purveyors of a wide variety of fresh lettuces, herbs and microgreens. This is one of the largest indoor farms in the world.
They have created their own high-tech patented vertical growth system utilizing aeroponics, a process where plants are grown by suspending their roots in the air without the use of soil. A traversing misting system nourishes the roots. This innovative practice uses 95% less water, reducing demand on this precious natural resource. Additionally, only 1/200th of the land is used compared to traditional farming.
The unique growing environment is optimized due to the correct balance of nutrients and lighting conditions. The products go from seed to the store shelves or restaurants in two to five weeks, depending on the product type. The shorter growth time allows for a higher number of production cycles. The need for herbicides, pesticides, GMOs and other chemicals is eliminated which means the produce reaches the consumer clean and ready to eat. There is no dirt to wash away and no damage from the elements. Additionally, after harvest the roots remain attached to the lettuce heads, lengthening their shelf life to 2 weeks or more.
Indoor growing is beneficial for many reasons. There are no weather related concerns and the light, humidity, temperature and addition of nutrients are controlled via a computerized system. There is no danger of the plants becoming compromised by outdoor pests or bacteria. This results in higher yields of a safer product with more attractive appearance and taste. These ideal growing conditions create consistent and bright flavor profiles.
The sustainable nature of Living Greens Farm is impactful in many ways including less land and water usage, reduced transportation and energy, less waste and a longer product shelf life.
After our tour we joined the head grower, Jenny to taste some of the freshly harvested products. We were highly impressed by both the quality and flavor of the produce. See below for some of my recipes utilizing Living Greens Farm ingredients.
- 1 1/2 cups Living Greens Farm Basil
- 1/2 cup Living Greens Farm arugula (or arugula microgreens)
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Pinch of sea salt
- Combine basil, arugula, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and process until finely minced.
- With processor running, slowly add olive oil and process until well blended and smooth
- Add parmesan cheese and pulse just until combined.
- Pour into a bowl and stir in the pinch of salt to taste, add more if desired.
Refrigerate until ready to use. Toss with warm pasta, use as a spread on sandwiches or burgers, toast slices of baguette and top with pesto and chopped tomatoes. Let creativity be your guide!
English Muffin with Tomato Jam, a Sunny Side Up Egg and Arugula Microgreens
- 1 Half of an English Muffin
- 2 tablespoons of tomato jam ( I purchased mine pre-made from Broder’s Cucina in Minneapolis)
- 1 Sunny side up egg
- 1 small handful of Living Greens arugula microgreens
- Toast English Muffin and place on a plate
- While English muffin is toasting prepare sunny side up egg
- Spread tomato jam onto the warm English Muffin
- Top with cooked egg
- Top egg with arugula microgreens
*Multiply recipe to prepare as many servings as necessary
Mixed Green Salad with Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing and Fresh Radishes
- 3 cups of Living Greens Farm mixed greens
- 1 cup of bottled blue cheese dressing
- 1/3 cup of blue cheese crumbles
- 1/2 tsp of dried tarragon or 1 tsp of fresh
- 4 fresh radishes, washed and thinly sliced
- Divide greens into 2 bowls
- Whisk together blue cheese dressing, blue cheese crumbles and tarragon in a medium bowl until all ingredients are combined.
- Drizzle desired amount of dressing over lettuce. Top with radishes. Serve immediately.
Refrigerate any remaining dressing in a jar or other covered container for later use.
Living Greens Farm products are currently available for purchase at Lunds & Byerly’s, a handful of Cub and Hy-Vee stores, Fresh Thyme and other major food co-ops. They will also be in Walmart stores in both MN and WI next month.
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