Local Dragon’s Den Success, Celebrating Urban Farming

Tarren Wolfe, owner and inventor of Living Produce Aisle and a Dragon’s Den success story, takes fresh and local produce to the next level. Located in Gastown, customers will be able to choose from a dozens of different micro greens and herbs and have them freshly cut right from the urban cultivators.

ned-tarren living produce aisle

Their menu created by Four Season’s Executive Chef Ned Bell, mainly consists of smoothies and salads. A delicious recipe below – tried and tested.

Ned Bell - Living Produce Aisle

Urban cultivator was only offered for commercial uses, have been miniaturized for consumer consumption. Recommended for anyone who wants to take control of what they eat and start growing their own greens and herbs 365 days a year.

Skeptical at first, while I get the whole grow your own food sell, how was this green, this thing is on 24 hours a day, everyday. Upon further discussion, Urban Cultivators has the same energy output as a dishwasher.

Commercial Urban Cultivator - LPA

Ned Bell was spending around $2000/ month on fresh herbs and micro greens at the Four Seasons, an investment in one of these industrial sized ‘farm in a box’ retails for $6000 turned out to be a huge money saver. The home model produces about $1000 worth of greens per year, paying for itself in approximately two years.

For regular consumers like myself, I’d stick to purchasing pots. The greens were perfect, no yellowing, no holes where bugs nibbled. Walking in there are rows and rows of green machines, not even a designer landscape artist could reach to this level of perfection.

micro greens - Living Produce Aisle

All seeds are non-GMO and organic, Wolfe’s main supplier is Mumm’s from Saskatchewan.

Chef Ned’s “Sweet, Salty, Nutty and Fruity” Cranberry Hazelnut Honey Balsamic Salad

Artisan lettuce, Pea Tendrils, Beat Tops, Arugula, Kale Micro’s, locally grown and roasted Hazelnuts, locally grown Cranberries and Chef Ned’s Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups canola oil
  • 2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp cracked black pepper

Method:

Puree everything in a Vita Mix Blender. Check for seasoning and adjust with sea salt and pepper to taste.

 Additional Applications:

  • This dressing is great on any mixed greens or lettuces.
  • It is also a great dip for vegetables or fruits (apples, pears melon)
  • Try it with a warm potato salad, mixed bean salad, green beans, asparagus or your favourite pasta salad or cooked quinoa.
  • Serve with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Hazelnuts sprinkled on top

Enjoy

Food and Menu Trends for 2013

greens

Here is what to be expected on our menus in 2013.

Beef represents a big challenge for food service operators for the next year, and very likely passed down to consumers. The 6% increase in cattle prices prompted a 8% increase in ground beef and 14% increase on choice steak cuts prices in 2012. To further the challenge, 2013 beef product is expected to decrease by 5% translating to an increase in prices to be record high by spring 2013.

The health conscious consumer. The trend of menu labeling will increase nutrition awareness amongst consumers promoting healthier ingredients like Kale, and whole grains, quinoa and farro.

Lightening our favourites. Our favourite heavy calorie meals are being lightened. CarlsJr tweeted “With only 490 calories in our NEW Jalapeno Turkey Burger, U can make a resolution to eat @CarlsJr every day.”

Game meat, specifically, elk, bison and venison. Consumers are becoming increasing adventurous and won’t mind paying extra $ for added quality.
Chicken breast Overkill. It’s a race to see who can use more chicken breast on their menus.

My favourite trend, is the farm to table concept. Restaurants are ordering local products, and regularly changing upscale comfort foods. You will see more local artisan products and local craft beers.

Heavier food marketing for millennials promoting for Group Grazing. Small share plates, and even street food vendors inspire cravability.