US (ME): Greenhouse provides fresh vegetables at Bangor restaurant

This winter, Novio’s owner Bob Cutler and Chef Dustin Cyr are busy constructing a 1,500-square-foot greenhouse near Cyr’s home in Hermon. In the greenhouse, which will be heated with an oil-burning furnace, they hope to grow 80 percent of the produce they serve at the restaurant within eight months. It’s an ambitious plan, but both achievable and worthwhile, they said.

Both Cutler and Cyr have a lot of experience in the restaurant industry. Prior to opening Novio’s in the fall of 2016, Cutler owned The Family Dog in Orono and two food trucks in the Bangor area (he has since sold those in order to concentrate on the Bangor bistro). And Cyr has plied his craft at many Bangor restaurants for more than a decade, including a long stint behind the stove at the acclaimed Fiddlehead Restaurant. Farming, though, is fairly new to both of them.

He thought about ways to make sure that he could get the freshest, most delicious produce possible. And he thought about growing exactly what he wanted for his menus, researching how to use the greenhouse to make that happen. Although Novio’s has been transitioning to sourcing more produce locally, that has not always been easy, Cyr said. Growing his own just made sense to him, and he had an idea of how to scale up to grow enough to supply the small restaurant, which serves an average of 230 diners a week. To grow his super hot peppers, he dabbled in hydroponics, the technique of growing plants without soil. Instead of planting them in dirt, they grew in water with the help of mineral nutrient solutions. In the greenhouse, he plans to use a hydroponic system to grow vegetables including tomatoes and lettuces.

Read more at Bangor Daily News (Abigail Curtis)

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