Chris Hogberg, Vertical Harvest Jackson General Manager, gives you a peek behind the curtain to what work life is like in our beautiful Wyoming greenhouse. Chris joined Vertical Harvest on a consulting basis three years ago and now oversees the day-to-day operations of our grow team. Chris has a background in construction and as a chef. He also ran an artisan hummus business before joining our team. Let’s dive in:

  1. Blog Team: Why do the carousels in the greenhouse spin? Can you give us a bit more info on the carousels?
    Chris: The spinning is for a couple of reasons. First, it helps to maximize the amount of light the plants receive. So, they constantly rotate to help distribute that light intake. The second reason is ergonomics. The carousel brings the crops directly to the farmers tending them, whether it be for seeding, planting or harvesting. It helps to reduce bending over. So, by design, it helps farming be more accessible to a diverse range of farmers. The carousels were custom made by a Dutch company called Codema and Vertical Harvest is the only place that has a functional version of this model. However, this type of carousel is a challenge to keep running, so we will be simplifying to a more traditional (yet also custom and accessible) conveyor rack system in future greenhouses.
  2. Blog Team: Which engineering aspect of VH is the most crucial to keeping production running?
    Chris: Our water system is most crucial. It contains a solution fertilized with phosphate, potassium, and nitrogen that feeds the plants. In the peak part of the day, our microgreens and petite greens get watered every 1.25 hours and the lettuce every 15 minutes, so if we run out of fertilizer or a pump goes down you’ll notice the plants drooping quite a bit. Water is really the life-blood of a hydroponic greenhouse because you have little to no soil for water retention. Water passes right over the roots of the plant in a continuous, recycled flow. If that stops, you have problems.
  3. Blog Team: What is unique about the VH building compared to other greenhouses or farms?
    Chris: It is the combination of being a glass greenhouse and being a vertical farm. Greenhouses are usually one-story and rectangular and most vertical farms are tall, but enclosed, like a warehouse. We are unique in that we are vertical, but we utilize natural light. And, because of our striking glass building, we have become a community fixture that adds to the architectural beauty of the urban landscape.
  4. Blog Team: What changes and company growth have most impressed you over the past 5 years?
    Chris: It’s so amazing to see the personal growth of everyone on the staff. None of us had a background in hydroponic farms, but we’ve each brought our very different skill sets to the accidental farmer mindset. Now, after trial and error, we really know what we are doing! But our different perspectives and abilities still help us to bring creative solutions to everyday issues. It’s personally very satisfying.
  5. Blog Team: In your experience, how does the Vertical Harvest mission play into your day-to-day work life?
    Chris:
    The atmosphere is always one of joy, which is not what you usually find in a lot of workplaces. And, I think a lot of that really is due to the social component. People believe in what we do here — growing people as well as plants — so we all come to work with smiles on our faces. It is really contagious. It lends itself to people being driven and producing even more high-quality work. Our team takes a deep sense of pride in what we do here to push the business forward. 

Get ready to get creative in your kitchen.

Our Winter Farm Share features your favorite microgreens, a taste of some exciting new petite green blends, a hint of edible flowers, plus tasty tomatoes and lettuce now and then.

  • Look for our crunchy new Asian Bao Bao Blend in your January 15 Box. Mixing Chinese cabbage, tatsoi, pak choi, and leaf broccoli,  these petite and crispy delights are named for the Chinese word for “baby” or “precious treasure.” Toss them in any salad or slaw, top your sushi, or blend them into a dip.
  • Your January 22 Box will include the zesty new Rev It Up Mix featuring Toscano and purple kale, arugula, and sorrel. Tender and zippy all in one bite, this savory salad blend barely needs dressing — it’s that flavorful! You decide what veggies to add and this mix will provide the peppery punch.
  • Get ready for a powerful new superfood blend at the end of the month in your January 29 Box. That’s when Beet Power will premier. You can’t beat this mix of beet greens, Toscano kale, and broccoli as an addition to smoothies, or a power boost to any creamy soup. Plus, we recommend this snappy blend as a hands-down best topper to avocado toast.

You’ll see more of these petite green blends throughout your (6 or 8 week — you choose!) Winter Farm Share, along with the mighty microgreen mixes you’ve come to know and love: Dr. Feel Good, Spicy Mix, Citrus Blend, Vertical Vibrant, and more. Your January 15 and February 12 boxes will include our edible flowers, so have your recipe books and/or cocktail shakers on stand by.

One of our most popular (and pretty) microgreens is citrusy Red-Veined Sorrel. We harvest it at the baby leaf size so it is super tender and at the perfect stage to use directly as a garnish. (FYI — if it’s grown to full size, you need to cook it like spinach). Purchase Red-Veined Sorrel in our Citrus Blend mix in grocery stores, or as a single crop on the Slow Foods marketplace

The Many Uses of Red-Veined Sorrel

Sorrel’s bright, lemony tang adds a touch of zest to cooked dishes as well as raw salads, and can also elevate your average vodka-based cocktail. It works like a squeeze of lemon on fish, but is so versatile and tasty that you can blend it into a sauce; cook it into soup, sautée it with other leafy greens; or even use it to top off a tart (download our Mighty Microgreen Handbook for a fabulous strawberry chocolate tart recipe using Sorrel). 

Burritos and Sushi Too

A customer even told us about adding Red-Veined Sorrel to a veggie burrito in place of lettuce. She lines the tortilla with this delightfully bold microgreen before plopping on black beans, brown rice, shredded cheese, diced red pepper and avocado. 

One more simple (yet brilliant) way to use Sorrel is as a citrusy topper to sushi. Add one vibrant leaf to the top of tuna, salmon, or really ANY nigiri or sashimi dish for an added pop.

Last but not least — red veined Sorrel is red and green, so it’s perfect for our December/holiday microgreen of the month! 

Microgreen Fun Fact: Embryonic leaves (cotyledons) of Red-Veined Sorrel are fully green, so unlike many microgreens that are harvested at this baby stage, we let the RV Sorrel develop its first set of “true leaves” that have the red coloring. 

 

If you frequented the farmers market in Jackson this past summer you probably spotted the debut of our edible flower mixes. Their popularity told us we were on to something. Vertical Harvest is now poised to go “all in” on these vibrant and flavorful beauties. We’ve greatly expanded our production capacity in the greenhouse and things are blooming! Let us brighten your Wyoming winter with nasturtiums, marigolds, and more.

Growing Edible Flowers

We germinate flowers from seed on propagation tables and then transplant the sprouting flowers into hanging baskets. We grow the flowers hydroponically in coco coir, repurposed from our tomato crops, and feed with nutrient rich water until they are ready for harvesting. 

All our edible flowers feature a delicate floral flavor with an additional palate-popping twist. Nasturtium is peppery/spicy, Borage has a mild cucumber essence, Marigolds imbue a mild citrus tang, and Bachelor Button offers a delicate tinge of clove.

Tasting Our Edible Flowers

Look for these colorful blooms in cocktails and salads in your favorite restaurants around town in the next few months. Our Cocktail Kit, featuring flowers and microgreens, will premiere in our upcoming Winter Farm Share and appear on grocery store shelves in early 2021. 

The Cocktail Kit includes edible flowers as well as a mix of microgreens with various flavor profiles. You’ll find Red-Veined Sorrel (sour/citrus), Tangerine Cress and Chrysanthemum (floral), Celery (savory) and Nasturtium (spicy) in the Winter Farm Share kit. 

Use these greens and flowers as garnish to your favorite spirit, mix some into a mixed drink for flavor, or even freeze them into ice cubes. And, keep on the lookout for our Edible Flower Handbook (similar to our popular Mighty Microgreen Handbook downloadable at the bottom of the page here) to debut early next year (2021).

For most folks, Thanksgiving will look a little different this year — with friends and family at a (social) distance. But that doesn’t mean we can’t all celebrate. We just need to get creative. So we’re introducing the Thanksgiving Harvest Box as a new way to help you give thanks.

Developed in partnership with two other local Teton Valley businesses, Bread & Blossom and Winter Winds Farm, Vertical Harvest’s Thanksgiving Harvest Box is full of treats to jump-start your Turkey Day menu prep. Buy one for yourself and one (or more) for nearby loved ones or local buddies you normally host for Friendsgiving. Make the same recipes, buy the same wines, schedule a time on Zoom, and BOOM — virtual Thanksgiving. 

Included in the box: 

  • Vertical Harvest Tomato Pint
  • Sweet Mix Lettuce Heads 
  • Autumn Blend Petite Greens — This specially-grown blend is only available in this box, and is comprised of Toscano Kale, Purple Mizuna and Beet Greens, which are earthy with a mild spice. Perfect for your Turkey Day salad!
  • Live Microgreens
  • Bread & Blossom Rolls: Sourdough
  • Bread & Blossom: Date Dijonette Salad Dressing
  • Winter Winds Farm: Robiola Cheese
  • Thanksgiving Recipe Cards 

Price: $85

Order Deadline: Nov 20

Order Pick up: Wednesday, November 25 from 2:00-5:00pm at the greenhouse. 

Buy your Thanksgiving Harvest Box here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 3 ounces daikon radish microgreens
  • sesame horseradish vinaigrette

Dressing

  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh horseradish

Instructions:

  1. Shred cucumbers and mix with daikon
    radish microgreens.
  2. Chop shallot and shred horseradish.
  3. Combine with other dressing ingredients.
  4. Dress salad!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 pound of greens
  • 2 cups packed sunflower microgreens
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup toasted sunflower seeds

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Place sunflower seeds in a rectangular
    glass dish and place in oven to brown for about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine and mix all of the
    dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Place the cabbage, spinach, sunflower
    sprouts, and cilantro in a large bowl.
  5. Mix with dressing and toasted sunflower
    seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 ounces chervil microgreens for egg
  • mixture
  • 1/2 ounces of chervil microgreens for
  • garnish
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Place oven on low-broil. 
  2. Cut bell peppers in half, remove stem and clean out seeds. 
  3. Place inside sides down on baking sheet until outside skin in blackened. 
  4. Remove from oven and place cloth over the top of them and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  6. Using a knife and fingers, remove the skins on the peppers and cut lengthwise into thin stripes. Put peppers, garlic, balsamic, chervil, salt, and pepper into a bowl and mix well.
  7. Whisk together eggs, milk, and Parmesan cheese until frothy. Once combined add the pepper mixture.
  8. Put butter into the cast iron and heat up until it melts. Once melted add the egg mixture. Once the mixture begins to set, use a spatula to lift up the edges allowing egg mixture to run underneath.
  9. Let stand for 8-10 minutes.
  10. Once the bottom is set but the top is still unsettled, place in oven for final stage 6-8 minutes or whenever you see that the bottom and top has set.
  11. Remove from oven.
  12. Once cooled, invert it onto a plate and garnish with more chervil microgreens.

MISO MUSHROOM INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 lbs. button or crimini mushrooms (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter (vegan butter, if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste (gluten-free, if needed)
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are brown all over, about 15 minutes.
  • While the mushrooms are cooking, make the miso butter. Mix the softened butter with the miso paste and garlic cloves.
  • When the mushrooms are cooked, add the miso butter to the pan and cook the mushrooms for two minutes more. Drizzle the sesame oil over the mushrooms and serve right away.

Choose the ramen broth and noodle of your preference depending on what your local store has to offer. If there are not classic ramen noodles, rice noodles can be a substitute.

TOPPINGS

  • Vertical Harvest Spicy Mix Microgreens
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Soft Boiled Egg
  • Meet of your choice

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta or grits
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, plus extra for topping
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Rock chive microgreens for garnish

Preparation

  1. Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Whisk in the polenta and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes and then remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5-7 minutes or until fluffy and cooked through.
  3. Stir in the butter and goat cheese and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside. While the polenta is cooking, prepare your mushrooms.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until the vinegar has for the most part cooked out.
  6. Season with salt and black pepper where needed and remove from heat.
  7. Assemble your polenta in a small serving dish and top with the balsamic mushrooms, a sprinkle of goat cheese, and a garnish of microgreens.
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!