Where do I begin..............Kale! Chard! Scarecrow! Lettuce! Coconut Fibers! Towers! Having heard about the Alegría Farm, I invited myself to visit last week. As an amateur gardener, flexitarian, and pretty good cook, this hydroponic farm piqued my interest. What a dream for me! I eat mostly veggies but will eat and enjoy whatever I am served. Rows and rows of gourmet lettuces, exotic herbs and colorful enticing vegetables create a mouth-watering experience. The Great Park in Irvine is home to Alegría combining hydroponic technology, a method of growing herbs and vegetables, in vertical towers. Instead of soil, coconut fibers are used. The end result produces vegetables using 90% less water, 50% less fertilizer, and 70% less land. In addition, Alegría's fruits and vegetables are pesticide free.
I met with Erik Cutter, the founder of Alegría, for what turned out to be not only a feast for the eyes but a feast for the senses. As we walked along the towers, Erik gave me tastes of various lettuces, exotic herbs and vegetables - all so crispy and fresh. Erik is so passionate about his farm, he can't help but rub off on you. With a background in biochemistry and oncology, he understands the need for fresh and nutritious organic food. You can check out the "Farmacy" for the health benefits of all of the different kinds of produce by clicking here.
I left the farm inspired and excited to create my own recipes from the bounty of goods I took home. I have made gratins, pasta sauces, cheesy melted sandwiches and unique salads. But that will have to be another post. Chapter 2...........
A Veggie Bouquet
Organic fresh fruit and vegetable boxes are available at Alegría and farm tours are available. It is worth a visit. Read more on Erik and Alegría Fresh Farm here.