From Big Development to Big Soda
You’ve heard a lot about the farm-to-table movement, but rarely is the farm quite this close.
Sonia Lo, a Harvard Business School graduate, trained chef, and self-described farmer and entrepreneur, has plans to open a quick-stop salad restaurant in Boston, with a hydroponic garden under its roof.
The idea of using “the latest in indoor agriculture technology” to create “the shortest harvest-to-plate time in the produce industry” might seem a little unappetizing. But Lo has some well-known backers. She has raised $1.5 million from angel investors that include Boston Market founderGeorge Naddaff and former Dunkin’ Donuts president Will Kussell.
Lo is not new to the world of hydroponic farming — where crops are grown with LED lights and no soil. She is chief executive of FreshBox Farms, a startup founded in 2013 that grows greens in corrugated container cars inside a Millis warehouse. The company supplies lettuce to Roche Bros.and other area supermarkets.
Some alternative medicine experts claim there are health benefits associated with eating food soon after harvesting because of an abundance of phytonutrients. Lo offered a simpler reason for eating fresh-grown greens.
“I just think it tastes better,” she said.
No word yet where the new restaurant will be located.
— MEGAN WOOLHOUSE