Growing Greens Inside Portlandâ€™s Trendiest Restaurants - Maine Chefs Love Teenie GreeniesÂ®
Chef Andrew Chadwick handpicks baby pea sprout tendrils for his signature farmer's salad from a micro green garden growing inside his Sea Glass kitchen at Maineâ€™s luxurious Inn by the Sea, just south of Portland. Baby beet tops, cilantro, spicy mizuna or tatsoi all grow in flats just at armâ€™s length from the chef thanks to the work of Saco farmers who plant and deliver newly sprouted herbs and micro greens right to his door. These Teenie GreeniesÂ® are Cultivation WorksÂ® newest social enterprise, which teaches adults with disabilities to grow fresh, healthy produce in a sustainable way.
The Chef was drawn to Teenie Greenies both for their delicious product and for the sustainable farming and business opportunities provided to local adults with disabilities.
The greens arrive growing in flats with just their delicate first leaves developed, packed with flavor and nutrients. Itâ€™s like having fields- but very tiny stacked fields- at the chefâ€™s fingertips no matter the season. Chef Chadwick picks and uses the greens and herbs as restaurant orders come in- canâ€™t get fresher or more local than that according to the Chef.
The micro greens are crisp and terrifically flavorful so the Chef uses them generously in his vegetable, beet or baby Kale salads, and for taste and texture throughout his menu. Sea Glass, Inn by the Seaâ€™s ocean view restaurant, serves breakfast lunch and dinner year round, and Chef Chadwick is finding delicious ways to incorporate micro greens from his kitchenâ€™s mini gardens into all three menus.
Cultivation WorksÂ® offers agricultural opportunities and training for people with intellectual disabilities and helps them develop practical skills for sustainable farming while gaining confidence in their abilities. Adults go to greenhouses to learn good agricultural practices using non- GMO seeds and organic soil.
Having Cultivation Works farmers hand deliver trays with growing micro greens to many of Greater Portland regionâ€™s best restaurants such as Street & Company, Aurora Provisions, Sonnyâ€™s and Timber not only supports busy chefs, but is an excellent work-related learning experience for the producers as they work towards financial independence.
Chef Andrew Chadwick is 100% behind the startup program, and looks forward to the next Cultivation WorksÂ® Teenie GreeniesÂ® delivery- a brand new mix of red and green baby mustard greens guests in Sea Glass are sure sure to enjoy.
(Chef Andrew Chadwick is Executive Chef at the ocean front Inn by the Sea's Sea Glass restaurant located in the coastal town of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, overlooking sandy Crescent Beach. reservations 207.799.3134. www.innbythesea.com)