Scenic Eclipse Epicure Herbs

Scenic Eclipse introduces Urban Cultivator to grow microgreens aboard

Scenic Eclipse introduces Urban Cultivator, which provides a constant supply of fresh herbs and micro vegetables to the ship's four main kitchens.

The Urban Cultivator provides a self-contained growing environment for herbs and greens. Lights imitate the sun’s rays and an irrigation system delivers water and nutrients from the reservoir to the plants. The automated system provides everything for the plants at the correct times and measures so that herbs and greens grow all year round providing a continuous supply of fresh produce while at sea.

Bert van Gennip, executive sous chef on Scenic Eclipse, said: “We are able to regulate the temperature of the growing levels, and the hours of sunlight our plants receive.

“Our plants normally get 12 to 18 hours of sunlight and 6 to 12 hours of darkness depending on the variety and time we have to grow them.

“The system uses no soil, instead the herbs are grown on sterile hemp fibre sheets which eliminates any kind of pesticides which soil may contain.

“The machine has four different growing levels and can house up to 16 growing trays, which allows us to plant four different types of micro herbs at once. We schedule the planting of the crops to ensure that we can harvest some every other day. Some varieties take almost three weeks to grow and others grow within six days until ready for harvest.

“The Urban Cultivator allows us to reduce our plastic wastage enormously as we do not buy any packaged microgreens, which are packed in two or three layers of plastic.

“The taste of our microgreens is amazing when they are just cut and this alone is a reason to grow our own herbs. We are using the freshly grown microgreens as a garnish for salads and dishes, and to maximize our healthy approach to food, for example, wheat grass is a great addition to our Raw Boost healthy shot which we serve our guests every morning for breakfast."

Herbs and microgreens currently grown on the ship include pepper cress, basil, wheat grass, broccoli cress, pea shoots, spicy radish, and coriander.


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