By Jennifer Buggica, Foodable Contributor
In visiting a restaurant, patrons were once interested mostly in the taste of the food and the ambiance. While that still holds true, the push for sustainable, local and organic skyrocketed, and it became just as important to find out about the mission of the restaurant. Where do they obtain their food? Are they supporting local farms? Do they use the freshest ingredients? All of this while still, of course, maintaining a menu you can sink your teeth into and an ambiance you love to experience.
What Are These Green Walls?
No, green walls doesn’t refer to a new paint color. It’s vertical farming, and it’s rising in popularity. Really kicking off in restaurants around the country just a handful of years ago, the presence of living green walls is only becoming more common.
As restaurants are now existing in a wonderful time when their guests are more concerned than ever with what they consume, chefs are incorporating these green walls to provide the freshest food. It’s important for chefs and owners to provide their guests with the highest quality ingredients, and it’s done through having local herbs, lettuce, and edible flowers growing in their restaurant space.
Having these green walls to grab ingredients from also contributes to more flavorful dishes. Do you want a cocktail with rosemary? What about a salad with different colored greens? Would you prefer microgreens on top of your omelette? Now it’s possible – with a simple snip at the wall and a delicate placement on your plate. They’re walls you can eat. They’re walls you want to eat.
How Do These Green Walls Work?
Restaurants are incorporating hydroponic growing systems to grow and maintain these walls. Hydroponic systems are built to grow plants in a solution that is full of nutrients, but doesn’t require soil for these plants to thrive. These systems accomplish many things that are beneficial to restaurants and consumers alike: plants are stable, healthier and yield more, and pesticides are not a worry. There is also a smaller amount of water running through due to the reuse capability of hydroponics.
These growing systems involve planting seeds, irrigation and gravity. Watering will start along the top of the walls and make its way down to the bottom, taking care of all plants on the way to its final destination. The water is then reclaimed and stored to use again in the next watering cycle. Restaurants will then use artificial lighting to allow these indoor plants to grow.
Along with everything else, the vertical farming concept produces a space that is cool to look at. It creates conversation and makes guests feel comfortable that if they are consuming plants off of a manicured and beautiful wall, the rest of their meal is probably just as fresh, just as local, and just as tasty. These days of chefs and owners really listening and updating their restaurants to provide their guests with the ultimate experience is also a time of loyalty by their consumers. They are creating simple and honest food that consumers can appreciate.