The future of food and nutrition is beyond organic.
A great salad starts with the ingredients.
An excellent salad starts with the greens.
I stumbled upon TrueHarvest Farms’ lettuce while looking for romaine in Whole Foods one day. A creature of habit, I had been buying the classic Whole Foods organic romaine for years, but lately it had started to look forlorn– more like iceberg lettuce— sad, colorless and unpleasantly crisp, as if it forgot how to utilize the sun’s energy to create chlorophyll.
I mean, are you even lettuce if you’re not green?
Not knowing anything about TrueHarvest, I was instantly drawn to its fluffy, deep green leaves, in its cute recyclable packaging and bold yellow label.
Truthfully, I was skeptical that the packaging did not contain the Certified Organic stamp of approval but knowing a bit about hydroponically grown produce (and the often shady “organic” industry), I decided to give it a go.
That day, TrueHarvest made its way into my cart and into our hearts.
Rooted in Belton, Texas, not too far outside of Waco, is a greenhouse that is revolutionizing how leafy greens are grown.
We started buying so much of this lettuce, that I asked my husband to drive the two hours with me to check it out. The things he puts up with… (wink wink).
I reached out to TrueHarvest Farms, set up a *meet and greet* and a few weeks later, off we went.
Inside a concrete facility is a giant greenhouse, roughly the size of a football field, holding a sea of consistently happy, healthy and beautiful greens.
I’ve seen farms and I’ve seen a few greenhouses, but there was something extra unique about TrueHarvest.
The best way to describe it, we decided, is to call it a…
Beyond Organic Luxury Lettuce Farm.
Cool things about TrueHarvest:
If you’ve ever grown your own food, you know farming is hard work. TrueHarvest uses an automation process allowing them to produce large volumes of produce, with very little man power.
Takeaway: This keeps both lettuce quality consistent, prices affordable and produce safe from continuous human touch. It is no wonder each lettuce looks gorgeous.
How they do it..
A machine literally packs each seedling into its own little dirt pod where it is then transported down a conveyor belt and safely left to sprout in a special temperature controlled room.
After a few days, the seedlings are then transported to their new home in the greenhouse where they are watered above with a proprietary cocktail of nutrients until their roots grow long enough to absorb the nutrients from below.
Takeaway: I wish I knew what they were drinking so I could be as pretty as them.
As each new batch of tiny plants grow bigger, they are rolled forward, without the need for repotting, staying safely unbothered in their little home in the greenhouse.
When they reach maturity (at about 30-45 days), they are hand-harvested for quality control, packaged and then immediately transported to a cold storage room where they await to be deported to stores.
Cool fact: The lettuces are harvested to order, so you know that they are always incredibly fresh.
Any leaves that do not meet the TrueHarvest standards are composted, or often donated to the local zoo to feed the animals. (We loved that part).
My husband and I scoped out the “imperfect” leaves and were perplexed… we’d totally eat them… this coming from a lettuce snob. TrueHarvest really doesn’t mess around with quality control.
Other things we love:
Most people think that organic farming equates to “no pesticides” but this could not be farther than the truth. While organic farming is still superior to many methods of farming, TrueHarvest Farms uses zero pesticides. Instead, greens are grown in the safety of the greenhouse in what they call a “Bio Pest Control” system. In other words, little sticky paper is hung throughout the greenhouse to allow the quality control team to see what, if any, bugs might be milling around the greenhouse.
The Bio Pest control system utilizes “good bugs”, aka: little bugs that eat bad bugs but do not harm the lettuces, to manage any pests, instead of pesticides.
TrueHarvest Farms grows roughly 1 million heads of lettuce a year— including romaine, baby butter, crispy leaf and butterhead lettuces… While organic farming is indeed superior to traditional farming practices, it can deplete the soil, reducing the nutritional value of both the soil and the produce.
While I wish we could all live in a world with nutrient dense soils and perfect produce, the nutrient dense cocktails the TrueHarvest Farms lettuce’s leaves slurp up ensure each bundle of lettuce is full of flavor and nutrients, unlike the sad lettuce often found in the grocery stores.
My takeaway: If we eat what our food eats, then I want to be eating these guys.
If you haven’t tried them yet, you are missing out.
You can find TrueHarvest farms in Whole Foods Markets.