Peter Pane likes it crunchy: The popular burger grill chain is the first German system gastronomer to roll out its indoor farming concept. After a test phase in Lübeck, the Leipzig location is now enjoying freshly harvested greens. Together with start-up Mana Farms, Peter Pane is integrating its microgreens farming system into the restaurant. In the future, guests will be able to watch sprouts of red radishes and green daikon radish grow and be harvested by staff.
Indoor lettuce farming. Image: Mana Farms.
Less water consumption, less waste
"The Mana Micro Farm is specifically designed to meet the needs of the hospitality industry," says Patrick Junge, managing director of Paniceus Gastro Systemzentrale Ltd. The entrepreneur is known for his openness to new technologies and innovations that help optimize processes and trigger sustainability. "Growing lettuce directly in the restaurant is an absolute megatrend," says the 45-year-old, who has already grown lettuce in the Lübeck branch as well.
"Thanks to this new system, which has space for around 220 planters, we can easily supply ourselves with microgreens in Leipzig." Sowing and harvesting just takes "a flick of the wrist." An absolute plus of this practical self-sufficiency is the fact that the circulating hydroponic system saves water. The tank contains about 50 liters and only needs to be refilled once a week. And since the planting trays are not thrown away and the "seed pads" are compostable, unnecessary waste is avoided. Also positive for its carbon footprint is the elimination of long supply chains.
Even more flavor, even more nutrients
Unlike with the usual transport phase, the crunchy sprouts can grow completely "stress-free" and under optimal conditions - and one can actually taste it. "Why the flavor of our microgreens is so intense? Because the plants are not separated from the root until they reach your plate." Thanks to a variety of flavors and a wealth of nutrients, the colorful seedlings are currently high on the list of gourmets who enjoy eating more consciously. Studies have shown that microgreens contain up to 40 times more nutrients than adult plants.
"If the extended test run in Leipzig also proves successful, additional restaurants could soon follow," says Patrick Junge, for whom indoor farming is just the next big step towards the future. The entrepreneur's vision is the self-sufficient supply of all Peter Pane restaurants.