Twin Cities consumers now have access to fresh, locally grown greens year round—even when Mother Nature throws curve balls at the weather. Revol Greens, a greenhouse farm located in Medford, Minnesota, recently released its sustainably grown lettuce and greens, which are now available at area grocery stores.
The company is able to grow lettuce 365 days a year and deliver it to the Twin Cities and surrounding markets much faster than lettuce and greens typically shipped from California or Arizona. Since they are grown so close to home and shipped shortly after harvesting, they are four to six days fresher than greens shipped from 2,000 or more miles away. That means you can have greens that should last longer at home and also hopefully avoid wasting food—and money.
“Revol Greens’ packaging has micro-perforated holes to provide the ideal oxygen transmission rate, says Brendon Krieg, sales manager with Revol Greens. That same temperature and humidity environment at home may be a little different. “Regardless, it should last at least a week once opened if properly resealed and kept refrigerated,” says Krieg.
“We all know about the nutritional benefits that greens and salads provide, but eating ‘green’ also refers to foods that are locally and sustainably produced, pesticide free and made or grown without the use of GMOs,” says Jay Johnson, president of Revol Greens. Johnson has been at the forefront of greenhouse growing in Minnesota and an advocate of locally grown food for more than 20 years. In 1989, he founded Bushel Boy Farms, one of the first U.S. greenhouses to grow tomatoes year round. Johnson and two other Revol Greens’ partners who came from Bushel Boy, Marco de Bruin and Steve Amundson, helped grow the greenhouse to be the largest supplier of locally grown tomatoes in Minnesota before Johnson and de Bruin sold the company in 2011.
PHOTO COURTESY OF Revol GREENS
How do they do it?
Johnson says that Revol Greens strives to be the most sustainable lettuce on the market with its 2.5-acre greenhouse that uses cutting edge technology and responsible growing practices to pioneer a new way to grow lettuce and greens.
Constructed of glass, Revol Greens’ greenhouse is designed to maximize natural light, supplementing with high efficient LED lighting during shorter winter days. The controlled greenhouse environment allows the company to use 90 percent less water than traditional growing. In addition, a gutter system captures rain and snowmelt from the roof and stores it in a water retention pond. An average year of precipitation covers all Revol Greens’ irrigation needs.
The greenhouse and packing facility use an efficient radiant heating system. A natural gas boiler heats water, distributes it through the facility, and captures clean CO2 created during the process as fertilizer for the plants. Plus, a system of energy curtains is used to conserve heat in the winter, help cool in the summer, and keep winter LED lighting inside, preventing light pollution.
The Revol Greens’ growing system also features a first-of-its-kind system for baby lettuce that utilizes a hybrid of hydroponic and traditional soil growing methods to build strong, healthy plants. After harvest, lettuce and greens are cooled immediately, preserving freshness, taste, and quality.
“We traveled the world researching growing systems over the last five years and chose this method for its ability to produce high quality lettuce and greens using minimal natural resources and inputs,” Johnson says.
Mix it up
Five varieties of Revol Greens product, including Baby Spinach, Spring Mix, Mighty Spring Mix (which includes baby spinach), Romaine Crunch (which includes green leaf lettuce), and Romaine Twins (young Romaine lettuce heads) are available at Lunds & Byerlys, Kowalski’s, Coborn’s and Coborn’s Delivers, Jerry’s Foods, and select Cub Foods locations throughout the metro. The suggested retail price for all varieties is $3.99, which is comparable to other lettuce brands, but could vary by retailer. In addition, Revol Greens is partnering with Bix Produce to distribute to local restaurants.
Revol Greens sent samples for us to check out, and I enjoyed my simple side salad made with the Mighty Spring Mix and some classic carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes with a sprinkle of cheese and an Italian dressing. (Note that the package says to rinse before enjoying.) It’s been three days since I opened them, and they still look just as fresh.
They partnered with Salad Girl, a Minnesota company that makes a line of fresh, organic salad dressings, on the following recipe as well as more you will find on their websites (see below).
Gingered Roasted Cauliflower and Revol Greens Spinach Salad
Makes 6 to 8 servings
4.5 ounces (1 package) Revol Greens’ Baby Spinach
1/2 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets
1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds
1 1/2 cups frozen edamame, thawed
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1 1/2 cups roasted and salted cashews
1 1/2 cups finely grated Sartori Citrus & Ginger Bellavitano cheese
1 bottle Salad Girl Toasted Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette
1. Roast cauliflower: Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss florets in 2 tablespoons of the salad dressing and spread out florets on prepared baking sheet. Roast in oven, tossing occasionally, until almost tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.
2. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese and the sesame seeds and continue roasting for 10 to 15 more minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool before composing salad.
3. To prepare salad, arrange the spinach on a platter or compose on individual salad plates. Sprinkle with greens onions, remaining cheese, cashews, edamame, roasted cauliflower and drizzle with dressing, to taste, just before serving.
Hungry for More?
Find these salads made with local Revol Greens and Salad Girl dressings here:
• Sweet Heart Citrus & Berry Salad with Revol Spring Greens (Salad Girl Pomegranate Pear or Dark Cocoa & Sea Salt Fresh Organic Salad Dressing)
• Citrus Cara Cara Caprese Salad with Revol Greens Romaine Crunch (Salad Girl Citrus Splash Fresh Organic Dressing)
• Chopped Minnesota Waldorf Salad with Revol Greens Romaine Crunch (Salad Girl Crisp Apple Maple Fresh Organic Dressing
• A Nordic Winter Greens Salad with Revol Mighty Spring Greens (Salad Girl Lemony Herb or Citrus Splash Fresh Organic Dressing)
• Cocoa Roasted Sweet Potato & Clementine Salad with Revol Greens Baby Spinach Salad (Salad Girl Curry & Fig or Dark Cocoa & Sea Salt Fresh Organic Dressing)
PHOTO COURTESY OF Revol GREENS