AMAZING Farm-To-Table Restaurants Utilizing Vertical Aeroponics

Published by Darron Toy on



let's talk about food a chef in New York City is putting a new spin on an old technology and taking local eating to the extreme all of the produce served in his restaurant is grown just a few steps upstairs from his kitchen a willy wonka of vegetables his garden grows without any soil is closely monitored by computers John Donvan goes up on the roof and Chows down tonight sign of the time Wow sitting on a stoop on West tenth Street in Manhattan with a salad and a chef who made the salad there's got to be a story here meet John Mooney the vinaigrette is uh is a cider balsamic with a little bit of macerated Berrien extra-virgin olive oil 3 ingredients who in a few weeks time is opening a restaurant in this very building at basement level booths here with our skylight huh but the real story is upstairs 6 long flights upstairs there is no elevator because when you get to the top and the blinding light here we are wow this is your farm yeah this is our rooftop farm here in Manhattan this is where that salad came from its roof to table roof to table roof to table this is where the lettuce came from and the strawberries I'd like to tell people that they're so perfect that they look fake may i yes please do but look at what else he's growing here takun smell the mint from here romantic right oh yeah great this is broccoli rabe summer squash have you ever seen a fresh chickpea the garbanzo me you're growing garbanzo beans absolutely Muniz new restaurant Bell book and candle will be the first in the u.s. to grow its own food on a rooftop enough to serve an 80 seat restaurant every night for 10 months out of the year beans here bean Caesar tomatoes tomatoes yes can you show me what you got with tomatoes sure let me just walk through here so David John get a machete just kidding no machete in a way it's a vegetable farm but kind of a willy wonka vegetable farm the way this lettuce looks like it's growing on trees and the lettuce you're shaving something like 25% off the growing time yeah I mean I can harvest in four weeks amazing but that's the key to what Mooney is doing here and it's the point that he wants to make the technology that makes this possible is called hydroponics and it not only keeps this restaurant supplied with food he grows himself here above the city but in the bigger picture he thinks it could become a model for all of us to grow what we need very close to home why are you doing this well for one I mean what net would it not just be easier to go down the street to the farmers market we're in New York City there are plenty of them stuff tastes good well because I believe an ingredient I've always been involved in responsible sourcing and then this is something that I can totally control I can produce right here for myself in abundance you know and all I have to do is go on the road the key is water or more specifically water without soil so seven weeks ago these were all seeds yes one of the benefits of hydroponics is the rapid growth Muniz using a system where water filled with nutrients circulates through these towers each of which can sustain dozens of separate plants the absence of real soil keeps the system lightweight enough and upright enough to fit into small spaces like a rooftop it also eliminates plant diseases and pests that can live in the soil this is our bib bib lettuce yet you see the beautiful head of lettuce yeah totally beautiful roots attached yes without the sunlight roots attached totally living music I call it living lettuce living salad living vegetables you're eating who says lettuce can't grow on trees exactly go so show me what's inside one of these towers how this is working okay what we have in the base is the water the nutrient solution the water that's filled with our minerals which is what makes the plant taste good it pumps through the center here mm-hmm and then it trickles down uses 12 minutes of energy an hour it runs for three minutes cycles and when it gets there the rest of the time yeah we're air and Sun now there is something timeless unfolding on this rooftop because hydroponics as a basic concept is an ancient idea as ancient as babylons Hanging Gardens but it's always had an air of experimental to it not a solution embraced by the world's farmers in part because it's so unconventional and can be expensive to set up as well as needing a lot of monitoring to keep the system functioning but Mooney is a believer John in addition to running the restaurant what are you trying to prove here you know we're just trying to be as efficient as possible no I hope I'm the beginning of something absolutely I think it's well thought out we've tested this for more than a year this isn't something we've just jumped into there will be no waste but for New York it I felt it's the way to go to Mooney this could also solve the problem of people not being able to afford what's available in farmers market so we're picking lunch yes we are I'm gonna make you couple varieties of salad and yes that salad really did come from up here I know because I helped in the harvest a lettuce bouquet and watch as the farmer on the rooftop becomes once again the chef downstairs the only ingredient that didn't come from up above the nuts and the cheese all the rest really was rooftop to table or we should say rooftop – front stoop missus spectacular I'm coming to your restaurant it's really only a start what's happening here on West 10th Street but who knows maybe moon is right and someday this view could be green from top to bottom I'm John Donvan for Nightline in New York on this edition of emeralds Florida we're heading back to the city of Orlando and farm-to-table is our focus we're going to visit the greenhouse and they're supplying some of the top restaurants in Orlando a lot of great produce that we're going to get to taste my next stop takes us to a place that's producing some of the best produce in the area it's in a greenhouse and that's actually the name of the company the greenhouse is located in Apopka a city outside of Orlando there's no signage it's not open to the public and they mainly sell directly to restaurants Katherine grande is the owner and she's growing some great produce for some of the top restaurants in Orlando her family is actually in the greenhouse business they build Katherine took one of the models they use as a showcase and she and her dad started an indoor farming family business to grow their crops Katherine uses what's called an aeroponic system these vertical towers allow her to grow different types of produce in very little space she has about a hundred and twenty towers and she's grown a wide variety of petite leafy greens lettuces herbs and microgreens since everything has grown inside the climate control greenhouse seasonality isn't an issue so she can basically take orders from the small group of chefs she works with to provide them whatever produce they want throughout the entire year he'll probably do about 135,000 plants this year right but you're only doing what for restaurants five Russia 5s because you want to have that personal relationship with the chef thank you bro specifically what the chef wants with his or her restaurant exactly that's awesome that is a green choy that we do grow for chop-chop keep growing I'm fascinated with this dish about ready to be harvested not right and one yeah a couple more days this will be ready this is a spring mix that we came up with just to do something a little different you know it's got mizuna it's got mustards it's got a couple different kinds of Romain's a few other different lettuces in there a little purslane sometimes we actually we mix it up all the time tastes like lettuce that's the whole thing in many cases she can turn crops around in two to three weeks that's pretty amazing she doesn't use any pesticides or herbicides to grow her products growing the food vertically keeps the plants off the ground which allows plenty of air circulation and that limits both pests and disease with these towers she estimates she uses about 5% of the water that outdoor farmers use and the plants are nourished with a mixture of water and nutrients we have nutrient solution that comes in two parts and then we mix that and have it fed into the tanks the tanks don't feed into each other so each tank is sort of its own individual environment the plants Catherine groves are really high in quality and are not inexpensive but you do get what you pay for and this stuff is great and while she's thinking of expanding the business she wants to stay small for now and continue working with the select few customers she currently has you could do 40 restaurants if you wanted to but you choose not to right we could grow a couple of things and sell it to way more restaurants and say ok we only offer 4 products but we decide to do the opposite and work with every chef and say what is your dream what do you wish you had what can you not get what are you thinking of in the future and try to grow that for them a rule is got to be one of you probably get biggest all right definitely it just tastes amazing you know you get that peppery but it's it's balanced it's just really delicious and then this is that soy yes which I love and this is a great solid component I'm again it doesn't really get much bigger than this and it's just really mild and it's really nice raw and the mustard well this is my favorite this is absolutely my favorite yeah I could eat this every day yeah this is really great I'm gonna have to take some of this with me absolutely all right thanks for your time great thank you it is taking going green to a higher level quite literally these 26 aeroponic towers are the latest addition to O'Hare International Airport sustainability program a first-of-its-kind urban garden located between terminals 2 & 3 hydroponics and aeroponics is mostly hydroponics have been familiar with in the past it's been used and you know across the world but never of course at an airport and it's really kind of taking shape and really coming along more and more with greater technology and the ability to as you can see grow these beautiful products behind us what can you grow in the middle of one of the world's busiest airports you name it from habanero peppers to Bibb lettuce to edible flowers all of them grown without a shovel full of soil seeds are first germinated in small cubes of nutrient-rich volcanic rock then they're transferred to these 8-foot tall towers is the reservoir a 20 gallon reservoir and they're set to a timer so it waters for 15 minutes and then shuts off for 30 minutes waters for 15 minutes and the waters all recycled within the system and because they're not using soil the growing cycle is much quicker that means they can get much more production out of the crops they have oh we have over 1,100 planting spots in here and that's in each one of those planting spots is ready to harvest within four weeks so other things so in a year that's that's 13 different crops once it's harvested the produce is used steps away in airport restaurants like wicker park seafood and sushi it is true that growing vegetables and herbs on the airport reduces the need for transportation but it also delivers the freshest ingredients to our travelers and to our visitors they are demanding fresh local produce we are delivering fresh local produce fresh produce grown at O'Hare where travelers can sample it bringing a whole new meaning to Taste of Chicago I'm Lindsay Caroline and I'm the founder of rebel urban farms here in escazu Costa Rica we are located on the terrace of a LEED certified sustainable hotel that is going to be opening soon and our purpose is to provide fresh produce for the restaurant here on the premises tower garden is a vertical aeroponic growing system each tier has four slots for plants the root system it sits in here and there's a pump in the bottom it shoots water up through the center and the water trickles down and drips on the root systems of each plan this Basin holds 20 gallons of nutrient water the towers were created with the intention of making it easier for anyone who wanted to farm to do so and also their ideal for the setting that we're in because we have the capacity to grow our own fruits and vegetables here on the premises of the hotel on the terrace with very little space on our commercial units that we have here we're growing 44 plants on every tower we have 15 towers because the purpose of our farm is to cater to the restaurant here at the hotel I talked with the chef regularly and he lets me know what he's in need of and that gives me an idea of what I need to harvest we also are trying to develop a rotation planting and harvesting to meet the demand of the restaurant the best restaurants pride themselves using the finest and freshest ingredients but forget farmers markets you got to see this there's a restaurant in town serving the ultimate in freshness Susan your Osuna is live at Playa to show you where the restaurant grows its own produce Susan that's right so barn on playa serves the freshest produce and this is why take a look at this Tower this planting tower here this is Pok choy here's the system down here is the tank there is water and nutrients in the tank and a water pump actually pushes all that great liquid up to the top of this planting tower up here there are 35 of these towers there's spinach there's kale parsley all kinds of great stuff all to supply Playa Playa is renowned chef John Stefano Stacy's food is the freshest his CLO Verdes salad is a mix of exotic greens and edible flowers with just olive oil salt and lemon and here we have a little bit of cilantro flour even the cocktails here depend on fresh produce to maximize taste and aroma but no matter how big the nice demand chef Sedlar never worries about running out when the chef needs the produce for his restaurant he doesn't go that far he comes up here to the roof come on up the chef is also gentleman farmer what start to see turns into plantable seedlings watch this time last video with seedlings in these six-foot towers turned into a veritable forest up here there's corn cucumbers tomatoes and they're already harvesting chives crisp lettuce kale herbs like watercress cilantro Mexican tarragon episode 8 I couldn't find from the farmers or the markets the things that I needed in our urban Latin kitchen downstairs so we went in search and we bought this this is the sophisticated aeroponics that don't soilless plants fed every seven minutes with water and nutrients restaurant owner bill Chait sees this type of farming at all 16 of his restaurants so here we're utilizing space that would otherwise be fallow land as it were and in terms of the cost I mean the towers basically are much more efficient at producing crops per square inch than any other system because they're not sort of going flat you're going up good on the new idea and for the bottom line alright so now I'm going to answer the most obvious question can you come up to the rooftop of Playa to see all of this and the answer is no and frankly you don't want to it's kind of a hairy climb reporting live in Los Angeles to zaheer Asuna Fox 11 News besides not being able to find you wonder if the cost is you know there's a cost savings why the question is could you do it at home yes sure you can I'm sure you can I'd love to get one of those planters in my hair today yeah also the story of a grocery store willing to take a chance this is the heart of downtown New Orleans construction is booming building standing tall and towering above all the traffic the Superdome and City Hall but look what else is growing high in the sky a rooftop vertical garden about browses market in the French Quarter jacked routing is in charge of the roots on the rooftops garden at rouses herbs aren't everywhere growing in these taro ponic water towers and being picked served and sold right downstairs this is the epitome of local we tracked from rooftop to the produce department at about a hundred steps so we're as local as it gets these towers have no soil just water which allows the plants to grow faster do you plan on this growing no pun intended to other stores yeah yeah well we're going to grow up even more we actually have already put in plans to double the size of this farm we're looking at a couple of our other locations our facility planning for this already would allow us to grow enough vegetables and herbs to support six other stores so we are reducing the refrigeration the diesel the transportation of bringing product in from California or from the northeast coast Doug Jacobs and Kevin Morgan Rothschild head up the firm offering the vertical plant production systems urban agriculture is their business and growing new methods of farming is their future Doug show me how this tower works because they're actually growing in air and water right yeah so these are vertical air product our gardens at the bottom here we have a 20 gallon reservoir water is pumped up the center to a rain cap is a shower cap with a bunch of holes at the top and so the water trickles down onto the roots of the plants so if you pull this plant out here you see the beautiful white roots and the quite literally growing in air Doug and Kevin are selling and installing the towers across the country even in Alaska and so how many times a year can you do this system with these towers we can harvest about 12 times a year rouses brought in the two young farmers their first big client to install and plant the garden it's incredibly exciting it's a great start it couldn't have asked for anything more that rouses would get this technology put it on the roof start serving the food down in the stores and then expand upon it this is where it all began for Doug and Kevin their first test installation of 20 towers at Holly Grove market and farm where their lettuce is sold to locals so how did you get into all this because you just graduated from college yes I did well I thought and I started you know I wanted to build my own I got this manual fina and I started you know I got my friends involved and we slipped I put together and then a bit later I met Doug at Tulane through this social entrepreneurship Institute and the rest is history and now you guys are full swing in business if it is we can't is we've got too many projects on our hands it's not too bad for your out of school I know it's really important for me as a consumer is so much of the stuff you get in the grocery stores is packed unripe its kind of shipped across the country and you know refrigerated trucks and by the time it gets you it's been two weeks out of the fields and stuff like this and the nutrients kind of degrade over time this stuff is cotton it's literally in the market within hours back at rouses the lunch crowd is packing in the hottest item on the menu today pizza topped with you guessed it roof raised basil this is the fastest and precious pizza we took a short elevator ride 90 steps to the department we've got fresh basil fresh mozzarella yeah just baked it two minutes ago are we ready oh yeah by all means give a shot that's fresh and that's going to do it for us this time we thank you for traveling the country with us on this edition of America's heartland Jessica and Katherine grandi may have the coolest garden you've ever seen and not just because it's an air-conditioned greenhouse called the greenhouse this is our greenhouse park take a look around all the plants you see are growing out of those white cylinders we have 72 towers sorry white towers the business grows for Central Florida hotel and restaurant chefs and they grow all kinds of things lettuces leafy greens and herbs and it's all done without any soil at all nothing is in the ground it's all vertical these are in aeroponic systems it's all based on the system the undercover tourists saw then uploaded to YouTube after a visit to Epcot at Disney World the guy who worked on these for the mouse left and started his own Orlando company called future growing it's really cool stuff every 15 minutes or so the watering system tic-tac showering plants with nutrient filled water right where they need it actually is heading into their roots so all of the good minerals and nutrients that are in the proprietary solution that we use are going right directly into the roof so it makes them grow even faster many of these plants have only been growing for three to five weeks perhaps the coolest thing about all these aeroponics our Gardens is there not just for commercial use see that over in the corner that's the home version and you can have it at your house anytime you want to order it you can do tomatoes you can do squash I mean just name it the home version costs around five hundred bucks but jessica says it pays for itself quickly you save money you know because you're growing it yourself and she also says it's almost foolproof if I can do it anybody can because I can't say that I've had a heck of a lot of success in my backyard garden but senior sister have a lot of success with the greenhouse and hope more people turn to vertical growing with these cool tower gardeners it's like being in the future Tom Johnson good stuff Fox 35 you


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