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US (IL): Cafe serves student grown, hydroponic lettuce

Northbrook's Prairie Grass Cafe has partnered with students in the Green Grower's Club at Highland Park's Ravinia School to serve dishes made with the club's hydroponically grown lettuce. Every week the club delivers freshly harvested green butter lettuce to Prairie Grass chefs Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris. The lettuce is served with the special Ravinia School Salad, made with blue cheese dressing, apple slices and warm croutons for $9.50.

Fifth grade student Lizze Insoft, a member of the club, described the hydroponic process as "a system of growing without soil, with artificial sun, it’s much easier and grows faster because water is constantly flowing. It’s the only kind of lettuce I like.”

The lettuce usually sells out within a couple days at Prairie Grass, according to the release.

“The lettuce is delicious and the children have been a joy to work with. It’s rewarding to see their energy and enthusiasm," Stegner said in a press release. "Our partnership with Ravinia Elementary School hits to the heart of how business and community can work together to empower our children."

The program helps educate students about making smarter food choices, Stegner added.

“This is the first time that I ate something I grew,” said third grader Janie Levitan.

The club operates in Ravinia School's greenhouse, which contains seven growing tables where students plant the lettuce on a staggered basis, ensuring a crop harvest each week. Evert week, 24 to 36 lettuce heads are harvested and sold to Prairie Grass, some teachers, the Highland Park Board of Education and other buyers.

Source: Northbrook.patch.com

Publication date: 3/14/2013


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