All monsoon long, we’ve been drinking kale-pineapple smoothies and making big bright salads to perk up the endless grey evenings. And thanks to new-farmer-on-the-block Kisano, we’ve had a regular supply of fresh, organic greens which are usually much harder to source in the rains.
American-Indian brothers Ben and Brian Zehr run Kisano, a vertical farm which uses which uses hydroponic technology (that means no soil, kids) to grow its fresh produce. They cultivate rows of forest green kale and juicy red tomatoes in a completely controlled, pesticide-free indoor environment. This means the plants get the ideal amounts of nutrition and precise environmental conditions to flourish, and we get dinosaur kale and rainbow swiss chard through the year – no seasonality worries here.
Kisano’s kale and cucumbers find its way to small plates and salads at some of the city’s favourite restaurants like O Pedro, Americano, Olive, Sequel and Slink and Bardot. They also supply a tight edit of flavourful fruits and vegetables that restaurants would find it harder to source through the year like heirloom tomatoes and strawberries. More recently, Kisano started delivering produce to homes across the city, allowing the rest of us to build big, flavourful salads full of crisp lettuces, and toss skinny slices of fiery habanero chillies on homemade pizza.
Ben tell us that the nutritional profile of Kisano produce is high for two reasons – they provide each variety of plant with the ideal amount of nutrients and stress it needs to grow and secondly, it travels from the farm to your blender within a day. Our only grouse is the plastic packaging they use for their greens. We’ve been assured that they dislike it as much as us, and that they’re working on alternative packaging material. For now, we’ll appease our environmental conscience with the fact that Kisano uses 95% less water than is used in traditional field agriculture.
Sign up to Kisano’s WhatsApp updates, and each Thursday you receive a list of produce that’s available for the week – there’s often different varieties of kale, rainbow swiss chard, plenty of cherry tomatoes as well as spicy micro-greens and lots of flavourful herbs. You can also order bottles of walnut pesto made with Genovese basil as well as small-batch, low-sugar strawberry jam. Our kitchen project this weekend involves pickling some of those spicy habaneros which will make its way to everything from Sunday’s cocktails to Monday’s feel-good salad. Join us?
Getting there: To sign up, message Kisano on +91 93730 12116.
Neysa Mendes is the founder of @goodslice
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