May 6, 2019 |
Small, green and healthy: The small seed leaves of vegetables are referred to as micro greens or micro leaves. Due to their high nutrient content, they are also becoming increasingly popular in the catering and restaurant industry. Especially in restaurants in metropolitan areas and in city hotels which are not in proximity to farms or other foodstuff producers, the own cultivation of small plantlets is a way to refine dishes with fresh and non-chemical ingredients at a manageable expense.
In addition, the indoor farms have a great visual impact, because they are a piece of nature in the urban jungle and also represent a kitchen concept in which absolute freshness and love for the produce is key.
True to the principle of “It can’t get fresher than fresh”, the Andaz Delhi lifestyle hotel, which is located in the trendy Aerocity district of New Delhi, relies on the green power from its own indoor vertical farm. Almost three meters wide and two and a half meters high, the hydroponic farm prominently stands in the “Annamaya Food Hall”, that operates under the motto Eat Mindful. Shop Artisanal. Raise Awareness.
The farm consists of two large shelves, each with six extendable drawers. German national Alexander Moser who is the executive chef at the hotel says: “I developed this farm to cut out the transport of the produce because the concept ‘zero mileage equals zero carbon foot print’ makes a lot of sense to me”.
The farm is not air-conditioned, but with ventilated with a fan. To ensure that everything grows and thrives, an irrigation system with a timer has been installed in the cabinets. Nevertheless, the employees always have a watchful eye on the small plantlets, as the small sprouts are very sensitive before they grow into edible micro greens.
Thirteen to eighteen varieties of micro greens are grown in the food hall of the Andaz hotel, and each variety has its own taste. “For example, we use mustard greens for a lamb dish, which is a great fit”, Moser explains.
Wheat seeds are grown into grass by the kitchen team, which is mainly used for juices. The greens of the sunflower seeds, on the other hand, is rather crisp and therefore is used mainly for salad.
“We also offer a mixed micro greens salad that brings a whole new taste experience to our customer’s plates” says the executive chef. On the menu the dishes with the tender little plants are specially indicated and additionally a prominently displayed poster informs interested guests about the taste, vitamin content and possible uses of the different varieties of micro greens grown in the restaurant.
Alexander Moser and his team can’t imagine their restaurant without the fresh leaves from their own production anymore. The chef firmly believes that this form of miniature agriculture will become more widespread in the future, as growing areas become less and less expensive. Even empty roofs are suitable for such farms, in his view. “You can breed micro greens anytime and anywhere, but you have to be smart and experiment a lot, because not every variety tastes good.”