“You are what you eat” as the saying goes and nowhere is this more apt than on board Scenic Eclipse, where the innovative Urban Cultivator provides a constant supply of fresh herbs and micro vegetables to the ships four main kitchens.
The Urban Cultivator provides a self-contained growing environment for herbs and greens. Lights imitate the sun’s rays and an irrigation system delivers water and nutrients from the reservoir to the plants. The automated system provides everything for the plants at the correct times and measures so that herbs and greens grow all year round providing a continuous supply of fresh produce while at sea.
“We are able to regulate the temperature of the growing levels, and the hours of sunlight our plants receive”, said Bert van Gennip, Executive Sous Chef, Scenic Eclipse. “Our plants normally get 12 to 18 hours of sunlight and 6 to 12 hours of darkness depending on the variety and time we have to grow them.
“The system uses no soil, instead the herbs are grown on sterile hemp fiber sheets which eliminates any kind of pesticides which soil may contain.
“The machine has four different growing levels and can house up to 16 growing trays, which allows us to plant four different types of micro herbs at once. We schedule the planting of the crops to ensure that we can harvest some every other day. Some varieties take almost three weeks to grow and others grow within six days until ready for harvest.
“The Urban Cultivator allows us to reduce our plastic wastage enormously as we do not buy any packaged micro greens, which are packed in two or three layers of plastic.
“The taste of our micro greens is amazing when they are just cut and this alone is a reason to grow our own herbs. We are using the freshly grown micro greens as garnish for salads and dishes, and to maximize our healthy approach to food, for example wheat grass is a great addition to our Raw Boost healthy shot which we serve our guests every morning for breakfast.”, said Chef Van Gennip.
Herbs and micro greens currently being grown on Scenic Eclipse include peppercress, basil, wheat grass, broccoli cress, pea shoots, spicy radish, and coriander.
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