verticalroots, Author at Vertical Roots
Citrus Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Citrus Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Citrus salad ingredient on the table next to a plate of Vertical Roots Beautiful Butter lettuce and packaging
Vertical Roots Beautiful Butter Citrus Salad with a glass of rose wine

Juicy citrus, crunchy almonds, and tangy feta blend perfectly together over a bed of buttery greens for a colorful, mouthwatering salad! 

Easy to make in under 10 minutes, this salad is designed to impress your guests (and their taste buds).

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 package of Vertical Roots Beautiful Butter lettuce (or Green Butter Living Lettuce)
  • ¼ Grapefruit
  • ½ Orange
  • 1 Rainbow Radish
  • Feta Cheese
  • Dry Roasted Almonds
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Pinch of Salt + Pep
Dressing :
  • ½ lemon (about 4 tbsp.)
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp.  Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of Salt + Pep
  • Directions
Directions:
Salad:
  • Beautiful Butter in favorite salad bowl or dish (no washing needed)
  • Remove rinds, and slice grapefruit and orange into 1-2 inch bite size pieces; add as much citrus as you like!
  • Roughly chop almonds
  • Thinly slice Rainbow Radish
  • Crumble feta cheese
  • Prick fresh cilantro leaves and add a pinch of salt and pepper on top to finish
  • Gently pour vinaigrette over salad immediately before serving, or leave on the side

Dressing:

  • Use a 1:1 ratio for your lemon juice and olive oil
  • Roll lemon back and forth on counter to release the juices from the citrus
  • Cut and squeeze lemon juice in a bowl with oil, dijon, honey, and salt and pepper
  • Whisk until emulsified!
  • Adjust the ingredients to your taste!
Tip: Don’t have a whisk? Use an old jam jar! Put your ingredients in the jar, close the lid and shake! Plus, it travels easily on the go.
Leafy Greens Provide Vital Nutrients for Plant-Based Diets

Leafy Greens Provide Vital Nutrients for Plant-Based Diets

Did you know that there are nearly 400 million vegetarians worldwide? 

Vegetarianism provides countless benefits for the planet and overall body health. If you are a vegetarian, vegan, or practice any other plant-based diet, it can be challenging at times. So it’s important to educate yourself on foods needed to achieve proper balanced nutrition. And leafy greens are a must!

Contrary to popular belief, most plant-based diets are not lacking in protein. This is a result of protein-packed beans, lentils and pastas that often make the plate. However, the top nutrient deficiencies in plant-based diets include vitamin B12, calcium, iron, zinc, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, predominantly found in animal proteins. 

EAT YOUR GREENS

To combat this, up the intake of veggies that are rich in these essential vitamins and minerals. Leafy greens are like a nutrient powerhouse. Vertical Roots greens provide nearly all of these noted nutrients that meatless diets are lacking (and then some).

EDUCATE YOURSELF

Knowledge is power. Food nutrition education is key to make proper food choices. So here’s a quick rundown of the benefits these nutrients provide your vitality and health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids can help prevent blood clotting, promote heart health as well as fight inflammation, depression and anxiety.

Iron: Foods like leafy greens are rich in vitamin C will also help iron absorption. Even though iron from plants is not as easily absorbed, eating them in abundance can make a difference in your iron level.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps boost your immune system and may help combat iron deficiency, lower heart disease risk, and lower blood pressure.

Vitamin B12: Vertical Roots’ leafy greens contain 5 of the 8 vitamins in the Vitamin B complex, which are beyond essential for your body’s functioning.

  • B5 (pantothenic acid) promotes the production and release of antibodies from B-cells
  • B6 may promote brain health, eye health, and may help fight depression
  • B1 (thiamin) is needed for nerve and muscle functions as well as metabolizing carbohydrates
  • B2 (riboflavin) is needed for metabolism and energy production
  • B12 helps to maintain healthy cells, nerves, and DNA production

Vertical Roots leafy greens have countless other antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy heart, memory, immune system, strong bones, eyesight and even skin: Beta-carotene, Fiber, Potassium, Folate, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K. Read about all of the nutrient benefits here.

Spotlight: Sean McBride

Spotlight: Sean McBride

Horticulture is just one piece of the puzzle 

Our team is dedicated to the mission of providing global access to safe food, but that’s not the only thing that makes them an asset to our team. It’s their motivation to make a difference in many different areas, breaking barriers, and tapping into hobbies that make them better versions of themselves. We’re all here to learn and to evolve and to help each other get to (wherever it is) we want to go. 

  1. Go back to your childhood. What did you want to be when you grew up?
    • I originally wanted to get into Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) to grow pearls. There are so many separate steps that you can control better than in an open water environment. If you could better manage these environments, the idea is you could produce much higher quality pearls (on average), and in a shorter period of time. It’s this that actually led me to falling in love with CEA and ultimately going back to school for a professional science master’s degree at the University of Arizona.

     

  2. What’s your motivation for being a farmer today?
      • What I like most about CEA is the ability to decide exactly the conditions a crop receives. Ideally you should be able to get the crop to do exactly what you want it to do. The fun part comes in understanding the system you are working with and which environmentals to control in order to get the desired outcome. Every CEA system is different and those differences play a large role in the strategies you can take to achieve your goals.
      • Our setup at vertical roots allows us to have relatively precise control over almost every environmental condition you could want to work with. Our system also automatically records so much data and across a large number of pods. Combine that control, collection, and space to work with and you have a recipe for some pretty rapid testing abilities. I’ve really been enjoying the aspect of being able to test out multiple different control strategies. I wouldn’t have this kind of opportunity at any other company operating today.

     

  3. What has been your most memorable moment with VR?
      • Most memorable moment was my first hurricane. Everyone came together to harvest an entire week’s worth of pods in like a day or two. It was nice to be able to farm with people who usually only worked in the office. We had so many people working it all went by really quickly and it was nice to kinda all come together in that moment.

     

  4. What people, movies, or books inspire you?
      • Science Fiction is usually my go to when it comes to books. I grew up reading Asimov, Dick, Gibson, and Vonnegut. Anything that looks to the future and especially those that take place in a world with technology that we don’t have yet. I guess that’s also what drew me to CEA to begin with. We’re literally living in a sci-fi novel in this industry.

     

  5. If you could make one change to the food system, what would it be?
      • Educating consumers about what the organic label actually means. A good number of people who buy organic food believe they are purchasing food which has used no pesticides. This isn’t true. Many organic producers actually use more pesticides by volume than traditional agriculture. This is because there are a number of approved pesticides, but they’re typically less effective (so you have to apply more of them to get the same effect). Basically, if a label doesn’t say the product is pesticide free, they probably used pesticides. CEA is one of the best places to get pesticide free products.

     

  6. Favorite local nonprofit?
    • The Surfrider Foundation.

     

  7. What would you tell someone who wants to pursue a career in agriculture?
    • I wouldn’t be where I am today without having attended The University of Arizona and the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. Research has been going on in this industry for decades and CEA programs are a wealth of knowledge. There are a lot of things you can just never learn on your own or without a teacher. Find a university with a number of different programs that are in or around the type of CEA you want to get into. This is a growing industry, and it’ll be hard not to find a job once you have a degree.

     

  8. Now the hard one: Favorite type of lettuce? 
      • Romaine types. I like our Gem blend (Baby Romaine) the best.

     

  9. What do you like doing outside of work?
    • More plants. I have been getting really into cactus propagation recently. I still go to Arizona often, and it’s a little way to stay connected with that place.

    Vertical Roots Pesto

    Vertical Roots Pesto

    Have some leftover greens in your fridge? 

    Who said lettuce is only for salads? This twist on a classic pesto recipe is so simple and versatile! It’s delicious on pasta, baked into bread, with breakfast eggs, or just adding extra flavor to vegetables.

    Ingredients
    • 2 Cup  Chopped greens (Recommend: Lowcountry Blend or Arugula Blend.)
    • ½ Cup  Fresh Herbs (Try: Parsley or Cilantro)
    • 2 T  Parmesan
    • ¼ Cup  Pine Nuts (or Almonds)
    • ¼ Cup  Olive Oil
    • 2  Garlic Cloves
    • Squeeze of lemon
    • Salt & Pepper to taste
    Directions

    Collect ingredients and combine into a food processor. Pulse ingredients until well blended and smooth. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.