July 25, 2018 - Comments Off on Grower’s Guide – Summer Edition: Spearmint and Killarney Raspberries
Who wants to sip on a cold glass of raspberry mint mojito? We sure do. That’s why in this summer edition of our monthly grower’s guide, we are highlighting our newest harvests from the towers: Spearmint and Killarney Raspberries!
We’ve been harvesting trays full of Spearmint the past few months as we’re raking more cultivars into our herb mix. Spearmint is extremely aromatic and often valued for its culinary, medicinal and cosmetic use. Commonly mistaken for peppermint, this refreshing plant boast brighter, pointed leaves. This herb also carries many different health benefits including respiratory, hygiene, digestion and heart health/blood pressure. To reap the most nutrients, it’s best to chew it directly or steep it in a hot cup of tea. Spearmint is also popular in cocktails and fresh summer beverages like iced tea, mint julep or mojitos.
In our Modular Farms, it typically takes nine weeks to go from seedling to table, generating an average yield of 9 grams per site and 315 grams per tower yield. Spearmint is an invasive and wide-spreading species. Our towers ensure growth is controlled and focused where we want it to be without interfering our other cultivars, as would be the case in a traditional garden, farm or greenhouse. Since it thrives in warm environments, we make sure to keep our farm settings aligned with our LED lights and climate controls. Being able to control our environmental and nutritional values goes a long way toward maximizing our yields to produce the healthiest and best tasting herbs.
Raspberries are a part of the rose family and are known to have many metabolic, skincare, antioxidant and immune system benefits. Its flavour profile is tart, yet, delicately sweet with a soft texture. They are typically cultivated as fresh fruits for consumption or processed as juice, fruit puree, frozen fruit and dried fruit.
As one of Modular Farms’ key R&D cultivars, our raspberries were sourced from a greenhouse in Edmonton and planted into our ZipGrow towers to grow hydroponically in rhizome units. Since “out of season” is not in our vocabulary, we worked with our indoor parameters to speed up the fruiting period! We keep the environment cool and breezy for optimal growth and health. Tailoring our nutrients and environmental factors in the farm also means we can create different taste profiles.
Despite traditionally being a summer-only plant, Modular Farms enable consistent and effective growth year-round. By controlling the environment, we are able to push the cultivars through dormant growth stages resulting in year-round yields. Additionally, the fan systems in our farms assist greatly in the pollination of the raspberries, supplementing the manual or insect pollination traditionally used. It typically takes 16 weeks to go from its rhizome/bare root to its first harvest with an average berry weighing approximately 4.25 grams. As we’re still experimenting with our food trials, we do not have a definite yield yet, but be sure to follow our social media platforms to follow its different growth stages
to see how our next harvest comes out!
Follow the recipe below and cool down this summer with a glass of Raspberry Mint Mojito using both of the cultivars from this month’s growers guide!
RASPBERRY MINT MOJITO
1. ½ pt. raspberries
2. ¼ c. fresh mint leaves
3. 2 limes, cut in eights
4. ½ c. sugar + ½ c. water (for making simple syrup)
5. 8 oz. sparkling water
6. 8 oz. Rhum
1. Mix ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water into a small saucepan to create a simple syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar just melts. Approx. 2-3 minutes.
2. Place raspberries and mint leaves into a large pitcher. Muddle the two together. Add 8 oz.
rhum, ice, simple syrup and 8 oz. sparkling water. Stir to combine.
3. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and serve.
Learn more about Autodesk and the space at MaRS at www.autodesk.com/toronto