GoodLeaf Farms has an exciting and revitalizing feature on the menu at Toronto’s legendary 360 Restaurant! Specializing in sustainably sourced microgreens, GoodLeaf has teamed up with executive chef John Morris and 100km Foods to deliver flavour, texture, and up to 40 times more vital nutrients to new dishes such as the Local Farm Salad.
GoodLeaf Farms can grow fresh food year-round by boasting revolutionary technology and sustainable farming practices while keeping a tiny ecological footprint. “Traditional farm uses 275 liters for 1 kg of produce. GoodLeaf Farms uses 18 liters for the same kilogram of produce. So, we are saving our water, which is a huge resource and is in jeopardy today, for the future. We’re also able to do this on a smaller landmass”, beams Allison Vaux, Foodservice Account Manager at GoodLeaf. “I’ve been doing local talks for years on sustainability and why local makes such an impact.
I hope that people seriously look at what a farm like GoodLeaf does and how it affects our future”. Allison is also very optimistic about the partnership with 100km Foods, ensuring that the fresh, carefully selected products will be delivered to Ontario chefs using reusable bins.
Just in time for the new year, tourists and city dwellers alike can look to the iconic 360 Restaurant for heart and planet-conscious meals. OnSide Media spoke with Allison to learn more about her passion for preserving the environment, GoodLeaf Farm’s exciting new partnerships, and her favorite ways to consume microgreens.
What was the journey to getting featured on the 360 Restaurant Menu?
I’ve been in the industry for a very long time, and I have many connections. When I started with GoodLeaf Farms in June of this year, we had two distributors. I used to sit on the Board of Directors for Feast On. I realized that this was a boutique, premium item. It is not a mainstream item by any means, so that it would be best suited for Ontario’s high-end clientele. So, I used my connections from Feast On to introduce me to the owners and sales group at 100 KM Foods, another excellent wholesale distributor.
Alicia, the sales manager for 100 KM Foods, has incredible repour with her clients. She and I hit it off, and we hit the ground running! She made appointments all over the city with the top chefs for me to do presentations about vertical farming and sustainable agriculture. We booked over 60 meetings, and John (Morris) was one of those customers. When I met with John, I explained to him all the benefits. John is an incredible chef, but he is committed to doing what’s best for the planet and our local economy.
He is committed to educating his customers and staff on making the right decisions regarding the food. That, combined with 100km foods and my presentation skills, got us to where we are.
What do you hope to teach people about GoodLeaf Farms? About Microgreens in general?
The United Nations has sustainability goals that they set every decade. Those development goals go unnoticed by the public, which is unfortunate because it’s up to the general public to make day-to-day changes to meet those goals. So, things like sustainable agriculture, water savings, ending poverty.
This type of technology that we have at GoodLeaf Farms can go anywhere in the world. That means providing leafy greens to places in the world that wouldn’t usually get leafy greens. We can provide sustainable gardens to our customers 365 days a year.
I came across a Native Proverb that said, “we don’t see the earth inherent; we borrow it from our children .”That can not be truer than it is today. We have to care about our planet and the next five generations coming.
When did you partner with 100km Foods? How will this partnership benefit both companies as well as 360 Restaurant?
We started with them in September. Partnering with a company like 100km benefits everyone. They make it their mandate to support locals, and they do not just sell anything, which I think is an important piece. It’s not about just pumping out what they get their hands on. They’re very selective of whom they sell to and what they purchase because they stand behind their products 100 percent. I think this will be a perfect partnership for a very long time to come!
Have you always used reusable bins and other sustainable practices for transportation?
We started using those bins a few months prior with Bondi Produce. They do packaging of the containers for specific customers. When I started with 100km, we came up with the bin program; we purchased all the bins. Bondi also has another farm that runs from May to October, and they did a bin program with them. So far, so good.
The chefs love it because it eliminates plastic. Any king of cardboard breakdown is ideal, and they receive fresh greens every week. We harvest the product, put it in the bins, hold it for two days to assure quality, and ship it out to the customer. So, the customers are getting fresh greens within three days. Whereas bringing something in from California or Arizona, you’re not only losing 40% of the nutrients on the truck but it’s taking more than a week to ship.
What is your favorite way to consume microgreens? How would you recommend people to get their micros?
In February, we have been working on an Ontario Chef’s calendar for the Restaurants Canada Show. Sixteen chefs across Ontario have done a photoshoot and shared recipes. The recipes that have come out of this have blown my mind pasta, pestos, soups, even a Beet Chocolate Cake. Matthew from Cutten Fields Club in Guelph uses our fresh beet greens in a flourless chocolate cake.
I don’t know if I can pick a favorite. I’ve done everything from putting them in my kids’ lunches to having fresh greens salad 2-3 times a week. I put them in everything! My kids don’t like vegetables, so I have to hide them a lot. Microgreens provide 40% more nutrients than anything else. For instance, I can grind the broccoli sprouts into a pasta sauce, and my kids have no idea it’s there. That way, I’m giving my family the most amount of nutrients daily.
For more recipe ideas, visit the GoodLeaf Farms social media pages @goodleaffarms.
For more information on microgreens and local sustainable farming, visit https://www.goodleaffarms.com/