When you order a smoothie at Yaletown’s Living Produce Aisle, many of the ingredients will be harvested to order right on the spot and served up at their absolute freshest.
Living Produce Aisle is a shop that uses Urban Cultivators to grow microgreens on site. The shop is set up with walls of the company’s commercial cultivators (and a few of the residential models, too, like the ones used in this very eco-friendly North Vancouver home), and they’re stocked with flats of the greens.
The cultivators are fully-automated for growing, taking care of the greens’ full set of needs: light, water, and ventilation. Living Produce Aisle is busy growing greens for their own use in the store for their small menu of smoothies and salads, but also growing for local restaurants, and for customers wishing to purchase the greens for use in their home kitchens.
There are numerous benefits to growing and eating microgreens, explains Urban Cultivator’s CEO Tarren Wolfe, who points to the higher nutritional value of microgreens, as well as the sustainability factor of harvesting early, and using fewer resources to grow a nutritionally superior product, with a higher annual crop yield.
Freshly-harvested produce contains peak nutrients, whereas produce picked and then stored or shipped for later use loses its nutritional value over time.
“All these traditional vegetables…we’re waiting all this time for them to develop. It takes more energy, it takes more time for them to develop, and more energy, and we’re getting less yield at the end of the year…and for what? An inferior nutritional product,” elaborates Wolfe.
Home gardeners can use Urban Cultivators to prep their planting for the season by starting seeds, and home cooks can go into Living Produce Aisle and take home a flat of greens, like micro kale, pea shoots, micro arugula, or nasturtium. The flats are completely biodegradable, so once a customer is done with their mini-harvest, the container and soil can go right onto the compost pile.
Customers at the shop can choose from fresh juices and smoothies, like the Temple Tonic (arugula, wheatgrass, orange juice, coconut water, banana, frozen yogurt) or The Re-Up (wheatgrass, pea shoots, carrot juice, beet, apple, jalapeño), and see their microgreens cut to order and blended into their drinks.
Living Produce Aisle
Address: 1168 Hamilton Street, Yaletown
Hours:Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.