Starting today, Mad Greens customers can be the first in Denver to sample premium-quality lettuce grown using a newly launched system that adds a whole new meaning to “locally grown.”
Mad Greens is the first restaurant group in Denver to carry greens produced by VertiFresh. The company, also Denver-based, uses hydroponic growing techniques, transforming repurposed shipping containers parked in the central city into the garden of the future.
“We are committed to increasing our use of local products in all of our restaurants,” says Marley Hodgson, founder and CEO of MAD Greens. “Since the Colorado growing season is short, VertiFresh is a great solution. Their products are available year-round and offer all the great benefits of locally grown produce.”
MAD Greens will test the product in its summertime salad, the Alferd Packer, made with all local ingredients, including VertiFresh greens, Palisade peaches, roasted Olathe sweet corn, green beans, and locally produced goat cheese.
Available until September 30, the “locals-only” salad was introduced in MAD Greens’ 11 restaurants along the Front Range in 2011, with great customer response.
Hydroponic techniques, in which plants grow in water-based mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil or dirt, have been in use for many years.
VertiFresh offers a fresh take on the concept. By using mobile container greenhouses, the company can plant a farm a short drive from the restaurant, eliminating long-distance, refrigerated food transportation that eats up fuel and adds to air pollution.
The concept also uses less than 20 percent of the water required for similar-sized traditional farming methods, and, with its location in already developed locations, leaves no footprint on arable land.
“Together, MAD Greens and VertiFresh are doing our part to make a positive impact on Denver’s environment and the economy,” says William Sears, founder of VertiFresh. “We know customers are committed to products that are good for them and good for the environment. Additionally, because we are two local companies, all our food dollars stay in the community.”
MAD Greens is currently offering VertiFresh greens for a limited time only, but hopes to add more local products to its permanent menu in the future. T
he unique greens are available in the Alferd Packer salad, or customers can request VertiFresh lettuce in any salad for a small upcharge.