With chefs increasingly using local ingredients and extolling the benefits of farm-to-table dining, many restaurants have begun to incorporate a “green” theme into their restaurant décor.
Walls and islands of greenery that feature ivy, flowering plants, fresh herbs and vegetables are appearing in restaurants across the country. These green spaces make patrons feel like they are dining outdoors. They have a calming effect, provide a clean, fresh scent and naturally absorb sounds. Greenery adds warmth to the trendy industrial design that has been popular in many venues (1).
Chefs like having immediate access to fresh vegetables and herbs grown on-site, especially “microgreens,” young greens that feature distinct flavors and are used in salads and as garnishes (2). Greenery walls and islands allow kitchen staff to grow what they need and simultaneously provide patrons with fresher vegetables, herbs and edible flowers in a pleasant, healthy environment.
Many greenery walls and islands grow plants without soil in a hydroponic or aeroponic environment. Hydroponics grows plants using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent and a growing medium such as perlite or coconut fiber. Aeroponics grows plants using only air or mist. Plants can be arranged on walls, on frames and in towers, and their healthy appearance reinforces the freshness of the cuisine.
Aeroponic towers have been a boon to some California restaurants during the recent drought. These towers take up less space than traditional in-ground farming methods and enable chefs to grow salad greens using 85% to 90% less water (3). Greens can go immediately from tower to kitchen to plate after as little as two to four weeks of growth.
As restaurant owners, chefs and interior designers team up to focus on plants, fresh herbs and vegetables, is it any wonder that the Pantone Color Institute named “Greenery” its 2017 Color of the Year? Pantone calls this yellow-green shade “fresh and zesty” and notes “the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals individuals to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”(4) Restaurants are ahead on this trend.
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(1) “8 Dining Trends That Will Define 2017,” by Bill Addison, Eater.com blog, Jan. 6, 2017. Available at: http://www.eater.com/2017/1/6/14182230/food-trends-2017-restaurants-dining
(2) Definition of microgreen found at Fresh Origins Microgreen Facts, http://www.freshorigins.com/microgreen-facts
(3) “Tender Greens Growing Salad Inside Restaurants While Combating Drought,” by Elex Michaelson, KABC-Channel 7, Los Angeles, Jan. 9, 2016. Video and written available at: http://abc7.com/food/tender-greens-growing-salad-inside-restaurants-while-combating-drought/1152529/
(4) “Pantone Unveils Color of the Year 2017: PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery,” press release issued by the Pantone Color Institute, Dec. 8, 2016. Available at: https://www.pantone.com/press-release-pantone-unveils-color-of-the-year-2017-pantone-15-0343-greenery