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Monday, June 3, 2013

Local Restaurants; Grow Your Own Herbs!

There is no better tasting herbs and salads than organic, locally grown edibles. Very few restaurants have zero space to grow herbs outside. Most chains load their green space up with water abusive lawns and tropical vegetation. Why not consider growing fresh herbs and salads on the grounds of the eatery?
It's a growing trend. It's green. It's fresh and it can give your establishment an edge over the competition.
What if we enlarged the scope of our operation to install and maintain organic herb gardens at local restaurants? We have a network with local garden consultants such as Bruce Stephens that could provide knowledge and assistance. I can imagine that the staff at restaurants are too busy to maintain these gardens, but the idea is sound.
A Boston eatery grows fresh herbs seasonally using drip irrigation.

" Fresh culinary herbs have become an important part of southern California's cuisine. Restauranteurs are interested in enhancing the flavor of foods without increasing the foods' caloric, sugar, salt, and cholesterol contents. Local restaurants have led the way in developing and popularizing the use of fresh herbs. This shift to natural flavor enhancers is in keeping with today's lifestyle of healthier, lighter meals. "

Some interesting facts from a 1991 California University Survey;
A minority of restaurants (15.6%) would like to attempt to grow most of their fresh herbs.

Asian restaurants' median weekly purchase (3.8lb. and $37.50/week, both summer and winter) is less than for all other restaurant types. Mediterranean restaurants' expenditure on fresh herbs exceeds that of all other restaurant types ($200.00/week, summer and winter). Mediterranean restaurants purchase a median quantity of 11 lb/week year-round, or spend about $10,000 annually on just fresh herbs.

San Diego and Southern California have an ideal growing climate year round and get more rain than is commonly believed. With the growing trend of shunning GMO crops and favoring locally grown organic food
it seems like common sense to incorporate this practice and make it part of the marketing approach.
Imagine, fresh herbs and salads, grown onsite and irrigated with rain and reclaimed water.
We envision roof top container gardens providing fresh edibles in downtown locations. Patio seating lined with herbs that are harvested daily and consumed and used as garnish. There are attractive architectural designs that can do more than consume space; they can produce food!

With the super expensive water rates why not divert some of the rinse water into a tank and use it to water the edibles between rains? We not allow us to create and maintain edible container gardens in patio seating areas? In this challenging economy I am always seeking paths to revenue streams and this idea came to me as I thought about genetically modified foods, organics and the tough times many small restaurants face as people flock to chains. All businesses need an edge. Grow yours.
Link to California University study: