"Our company was established in 2017 and uses simple and extremely functional systems to produce over 60 varieties of innovative foods defined as microgreens," explains Francesca Palermo, CEO of Veetaste Urban Agriculture, a business located in Puglia that uses vertical farming as an alternative to traditional farming.
Microgreens require sunlight and their growth cycle ranges from 7 to 30 days depending on the species. The edible part is made up of the single stem, the cotyledon leaves and, often, the first real leaves.
"Micro-greens are grown in substrates and develop thanks to 3 essential factors - sunlight, a low humidity level and good ventilation. Veetaste products are grown on organic peat and are not chemically treated. This means the product is more resistant to heat stress and has a longer shelf-life."
"We use a sustainable indoor cultivation system based on the good practices of the American model. The indoor vertical cultivation of microgreens occurs in a controlled environment when it comes to sunlight, humidity level, ventilation and temperature."
"The system guarantees a deseasonalized growth of over 60 plantlet varieties obtained from untreated and/or organic seeds so as to guarantee the maximum microbiological safety. These factors are also monitored remotely through sensors that can be controlled via smartphone applications. The product is part of neither the packed unwashed nor the fresh-cut range, as no harvesting and/or cutting operations are performed before it is commercialized."
"Microgreens have an explosive flavor (sweet to hot) and high nutritional properties, as they contain up to 40 times the vitamin percentage found in normal vegetables. Recent studies showed how microgreens contain much more minerals (potassium and calcium in particular), vitamins (especially C, E and K) and antioxidants than older plants and vegetables."
Micro-greens are obtained from a large number of species part of various botanical families: Brassicaceae (cabbage, broccoli, red cabbage, purple cabbage, turnip greens, cress, radish, rocket, mustard), Asteraceae (red Batavian lettuce, red Lollo lettuce, curly endive, chicory), Apiaceae (dill, carrot, fennel), Amaryllidaceae (onion, leek), Amaranthaceae (amaranth,Swiss chard, chard from Bari, yellow Swiss chard, red Swiss chard), etc.
"Our market is currently limited to Puglia and the neighboring regions, but we aim at widening our range and destinations. We want to create an entirely automated cultivation system to obtain productions that are more abundant and have shorter cycles regardless of the season. In addition, we want to collaborate with other businesses to strengthen the entire productive sector and involve the common people, final consumers, starting with small suppliers and reaching the retail chains."