How Sweet It Is – Hydroponic Farming At Sweetgrass Farms
We have become a big believer in the virtues of hydroponic farming – organic, healthy, and very efficient. The Wikipedia definition: “Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite or gravel.”
We make frequent visits to one of local hydroponics farm – Sweetgrass Farms in Sarasota, FL – because we love the quality of their products, the variety of veggies, and their welcoming & friendly attitude. Sweetgrass is the epitome of modern farming – compact, efficient, and in an urban environment. We were impressed that their hydroponic growing system uses ground coconut shell fiber instead of traditional soil, which eliminates the need for dangerous herbicides (no weeds), unwanted micro-organisms, and pesticides (fewer soil pathogens). And we have Sweetgrass growing some of our specialty vegetables which will go into our gourmet sauces (www.serious-foodie.com).
This week, we came across some beautiful veggies at Sweetgrass Farms that just cried out for some special chef treatment – and we wanted to share with you some of the recipes.
We came across some amazing white turnips and watermelon radishes. They tasted so wonderful as fresh, raw ingredients – so we did the most logical treatment: make a fun Spring salad. Here we make a simple, very flavorful vinaigrette from the Serious Foodie Pomegranate sauce (click HERE to order from our on-line store).
- 3 tablespoons of the Serious Foodie Blood Pomegranate sauce
- 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Optional: a few dashes of hot sauce
- ½ Cup canola oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
- Salad ingredients: romaine lettuce, watermelon radish, sweet yellow peppers, carrot (julienne cut), and white turnip (julienne cut).
- Whisk together the pomegranate sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, hot sauce, and pepper.
- While whisking, slowly pour in the oil. Continue to whisk until the dressing is thick.
- Lightly dress the vegetables, and serve.
The collard greens this week were huge & perfect. Here we combine sauteed collards with some of the white turnips.
- 1 bunch Swiss Chard
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 medium white turnip – well washed; julienned
- ½ cup white wine (Orvietto, Soave, or Pinot Grigio work well)
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- Juice from ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Thoroughly wash the Swiss chard; drain, and pat dry. Remove the stems, then roughly chop the greens.
- Place the olive oil and butter in a saute pan, and heat over a medium flame until the butter is melted. Add the onion, and saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add the Swiss chard, and stir so that the greens are coated. Add the turnip, and saute for 5 minutes.Add another dash of salt and pepper; saute for 5 minutes.
- Add the white wine, and let simmer uncovered for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, lemon juice, and sugar. Cover, and reduce the flame. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes
Even though we’ve done a previous article on romanesco (click HERE to see the previous article), it was worth a re-visit – especially since the Sweetgrass version were so perfect. Here we have a recipe for an outstanding vinaigrette made from the Serious Foodie Blood Orange/Aji Panca sauce (click HERE to order from our on-line store).
- 3 tablespoons of the Serious Foodie Blood Orange/Aji Panca sauce
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 head Romanesco broccoli, broken into large florets
- Steam the romanesco for about 10 minutes, or until tender.
- In the meantime, make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the Blood Orange/Aji Panca sauce, vinegar, and salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to whisk until the dressing is thick.
- Dress the romanesco to taste; salt and pepper to taste.