“We went from eight customers to 28 in two days"

People never believe lettuce has a flavor,” Randall Rhyne said as he walked through his shop, CraftGrown Farms, on Castle Street. Located where Aluna Works used to be (603 Castle St.), the microgreens and hydroponic farm is a modern twist on producing healthy, homegrown greens. 

“What do you think spicy is?” he asked. He handed over a handful of what he calls “painkiller.” The microgreens’ unassuming little leaves and stems tasted rather sweet at the start, but with each chew, lit up the entire mouth and tongue. “But it fades quickly, doesn’t it?” Rhyne inquired. The heat, in fact, didn’t last long. 

He handed over a sunflower leaf — what he called a “palate cleanser.” Just like that, a blank slate on the tongue was prepped for a new flavor. Microgreens and lettuce tastings are open to the public daily at Rhyne’s indoor farm, which is outfitted with 90, 8-foot, hydroponic LED strips and multiple mini-greenhouse systems. 

Rhyne is growing various microgreens, including but not limited to broccoli, cilantro, kale, collards, spinach, anise, basil, plus multitudes of lettuce — arugula, endive, fin star (a hybrid of romaine and iceberg), tatsoi (a mustardy Asian lettuce), Swiss chard, skyphos (red butter) and Muir (sweet green lettuce), among others.

“I seeded these on the 28th,” he said, pointing to small stems of greens that actually looked like tiny enoki mushrooms. “They’ll be ready for sale in two or three days.” 

Read more at Port City Daily (Shea Carver)

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