In kitchens, there is typically a much wider variety of dried than fresh herbs. Dutch herb lovers Ard-Jan Bluemink and Marnix and Harm Keurhorst think this should change. Under the logo, 'Fresh herbs within reach for everyone', they're promoting fresh herbs and they are doing so using their LIF-tower concept.
Marnix, Harm and Ard-Jan with the Lif-tower
Using fresh herbs fits in perfectly with the healthy, local, and fresh trends. "Herbs flavor various dishes. Herbs can sometimes replace salt. That benefits your health because too much salt isn't good for the kidneys and blood pressure," the entrepreneurs begin.
Many herbs positively affect various ailments and diseases too. They have been used for this for thousands of years. But a lot of people don't really know what to do with herbs. And are only familiar with a limited number of herbs. That idea sparked our work."
They have been developing a potted herb system for three years now. This system keeps herbs alive for as long as possible. But with the least amount of effort. During the process, they carefully considered users' wishes. "Our LIF herb tower takes care of everything."
Placement in restaurant
"You don't need a green thumb; the pot contains the nutrition for the herbs. All you have to do is place the potted herb plant in the tower and refill the water tank once a week. Depending on the type of herb, it stays good for at least two weeks but can last up to months. And, of course, we give tips on caring for these plants," Ard-Jan, Marnix, and Harm add.
LIF stands for Local Indoor Farming. The tower is made up of several 'building blocks'. You can use these to build three different towers - angular, semi-circular, or round. Thus, there is a suitable tower for every kitchen. "Initially, we wanted to serve the business market. But this design allows us to serve the private market with the same system. That's its strength.
The smallest variation is angular with four layers. It fits in any kitchen and can already hold eight different types of herbs. The large variant is round and can reach considerable heights. That makes it interesting for places like restaurants and nursing homes," the three explain.
LIF in kitchen
The herb towers are also decorative, emit a wonderful fragrance, and purify the air. "You're bringing a piece of nature into your home or restaurant, and that creates an experience. In the morning, you start with a fresh cup of herbal tea. In the afternoon, you fry an egg with herbs. In the evening, you cook with herbs, and later, you make another cocktail that includes herbs. You can use herbs all day long; that makes it extra fun."
The towers' parts come from Dutch suppliers. "It's very easy for us to switch. But 'Made Locally', its origin, is increasingly an issue in the market. We, therefore, also want to be very transparent in our working methods and who we are," the business partners say.
The three entrepreneurs are true herb lovers. They offer a wide range of herbs in front of their store and on their webshop. They get these from a grower. This assortment ranges from paracress, known to help with toothaches, to sweet potato, the leaves of which can be prepared like spinach.
With herbs, there is still much to be discovered. "Herbs are hip and happening. It's not hype but a continuing trend. We've been fascinated by herbs for a very long time. There are many aspects - their processing possibilities, flavor, aroma, medicinal effects, species."
"We want to introduce people to this fascinating world. There are many different species, and there's so much to be said about them. Everyone knows fresh basil and mint. But there are also varieties like Thai basil and pineapple mint. People are familiar with dried oregano and rosemary. But we can supply the fresh varieties which are so much nicer," they say.
"In addition to the herb tower, we're going to offer subscriptions. We'll then send along recipes and information about herbs. People can then file these. The herb tower is relatively small, but you can grow many different varieties in them. We want to combine the care concept, webshop, and herbal subscription. Then we can make herbs widely available and teach people more about them."
The three business partners are not concerned about copycats. Nor is it a problem if people start storing cheap supermarket-bought potted herbs in the tower. "We offer a total concept, and that's hard to replicate. The supermarket supply is very limited and of much lower quality. Once you remove the plastic sleeve, the herbs begin falling apart right away."
"Our herbs are grown and hardened in a natural environment. So, they last longer, and users will notice the difference. Besides, we don't mind so much if they put basil from the supermarket in the tower. It's simply about the variety of herbs you can store in a relatively small area."
"We have as many as 30 types of herbs that you'll never find in the supermarket. And we'll also do everything we can to ensure that consumers, who get herbs from us, get that extra bit of information and inspiration too," Ard-Jan, Marnix, and Harm conclude.
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