Greenhouses and Sustainability — What Better Way to Celebrate Earth Day?
Have any plans to celebrate Earth Day?
Maybe you’re getting your garden set up for the summer, trying to use less water when washing dishes for the hundredth time today, or perhaps you aren’t really sure what the big deal is when our beautiful planet gets a day in the limelight.
No matter where you’re at in your knowledge of sustainability, we’ve got some pretty cool stuff to share with you.
We caught up with our friends at Tanimura & Antle to see what sustainability means to them and how they’re implementing innovative farming techniques for sustainably grown, premium quality fresh produce — which in turn means better health for you and the Earth.
When Is Earth Day?
This post is sponsored by Tanimura &Antle®.
It’s on April 22nd. You may remember doing something environmentally friendly in school or teaching your kids about conserving water. We can all add new habits to our daily lives that benefit not only you but the Earth as well.
The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 when Americans protested because they wanted the environment to be better protected1. It took a few years to catch on, but gradually we’ve all shifted to more sustainable habits, including how we eat.
So, why not eat more plants?
Who Is Tanimura & Antle?
Tanimura & Antle is a company that was established by two families with a passion for innovation, sustainability, and above all — people. The Tanimura family immigrated from Japan, and the Antle family moved from Oklahoma to California, where they started working in the produce industry. After the Tanimura family lost their farm during World War II, they began growing exclusively for the Antles.
In 1982, the Tanimura & Antle brand was officially born, and over time, they’ve become more and more innovative and in turn, more sustainable, with their growing practices, packaging, and improving the lives of the people they employ
Today, they’re an employee-owned family farm with 100 years of farming innovation and experience. Among using traditional farming practices in California and Arizona, they use greenhouses in Tennessee to combine the art of farming with crop science to grow some of their premium fresh lettuces indoors, year round.
Let’s see what they’ve accomplished as a sustainably conscious company over the last 100 years.
Related: Podcast Episode 197: Brian Antle
Sustainability Practices at Tanimura & Antle
To say that Tanimura & Antle has transformed the industry is an understatement. Their sustainable business practices move things forward to help the environment, the economy, and their community of people.
And they’re just getting started.
Spreckels Crossing Employee Housing
Part of sustainability for Tanimura & Antle is taking care of the people who make their business successful – their employees. Like many cities, Monterey County has a housing crisis with Salinas, California, being the 8th most expensive city to live in in California. With the cost of housing rising, so was the agricultural labor shortage. In 2016, Tanimura & Antle was the first in the lettuce industry to build a low-cost employee housing community that can house up to 800 of their employees — privately funded by the company.
The housing community was built in less than six months and utilizes sustainable features such as LED lighting. The apartments are two-bedroom, two bathroom fully furnished units and includes amenities such as 24-hour security, free WiFi, laundry facilities, a communal game room, a convenience store, recreational areas and more. No wonder why 14% of their employees have stayed with the company for over 20 years!
Learn More: T&A Shows Spreckels Crossing Employee Housing
Tanimura & Antle is constantly collaborating with their suppliers to seek more recyclable and sustainable packaging solutions for their premium fresh produce. Packaging helps to keep your fresh produce fresh and tasty while protecting your produce from being bruised, damaged and being exposed to foreign materials before it makes its way to your home. Tanimura & Anlte uses cartons that use up to 35% of recycled materials and all of their Greenhouse Grown items are packaged in fully recyclable clamshells.
You can reduce your carbon footprint by 30% (some say up to 80%) by recycling the packaging from your leafy greens4. Always be sure to empty, clean and dry plastics before putting them in your recycling bin. One dirty packaging item can contaminate an entire recyclable truckload, making it unrecyclable. Always be sure to check locally to make sure your local waste management has a recycling program; many do not.
In 2010, Tanimura & Antle hit the one million dollar mark in their donations to the American Cancer Society. That same year, they received an award for supporting various charities. A few years later, the Tanimura and Antle family members made the decision to sell a portion of the company to their employees to create an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, which makes it possible for their employees to be partial owners. Did we mention they house employees, too?
Employees become part of the Tanimura & Antle family, working together toward increasingly more sustainable farming practices.
In 2009, Tanimura & Antle held the ribbon cutting for their state of the art greenhouse facility located in Livingston, Tennessee; making them the first grower shipper of lettuce to invest in this innovative growing method for their premium lettuce. They are the only whole-head lettuc grower-shipper that has invested in this innovative, sustainable growing method.
One acre in their greenhouse facility produces 50 times the amount of lettuce as one acre of traditional farmland.
You read that right… 50 times the amount!
Their greenhouse provides their growers more control over the environment so they can protect their luscious premium lettuces. Seeds are germinated in plugs of soil on rafts that float on pools of water. As the plants grow, they are transferred to larger rafts to allow them more room to grow until they are ready for harvest.
Growers monitor many variables of the plants during their growing cycle, such as nutrients, vitamins, minerals, light, and temperature. If needed, they can easily change the environment accordingly. Even though this growing method utilizes pools of water to grow these premium fresh lettuces, the facility uses 90% less water than their traditional farming methods.
The greenhouse facility provides jobs for the community and thousands of boxes of healthy, fresh produce are provided to local communities with less food miles.
The greenhouse-grown line of produce is perfect for you if you’re passionate about flavor, health, and sustainability.
Look for these varieties of lettuce at your local Aldi, Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Publix, and more.
Greenhouse Grown Boston Lettuce
This butter lettuce is delicate with a mild flavor and a hint of sweetness. It’s versatile and can be used to add color, softness, or a light crunch to most of your meals. Add it to burgers, wraps, BLTs, and sandwiches. Balance out spicy, bold, or heavy dishes. It’s the perfect portion for a family of four.
The heads of Boston lettuce should be large with loose leaves and even coloring. Remember to store it in the produce drawer of your fridge and wash it right before you eat it.
Greenhouse Grown Mini Romaine Lettuce
Succulent and sweet with a solid, refreshing bite. Use Greenhouse Grown Mini Romaine to add texture when chopped and mixed with egg, chicken, or tuna salads. It stays fresh and crunchy when cooked at high heat from sautéing, broiling, or grilling with a few toppings.
Use mini romaine as the new water chestnut to add more crunch to dishes or dips or organize party dips and lunch box snacks. Add it to stir fries, skillet pasta, or your favorite classic salad. Look for romaine lettuce that’s crisp without dark spots or cracked ribs in the middle. Store it in the fridge and wash it before prepping.
Greenhouse Grown Green Leaf Lettuce
Similar to delicately sweet Boston lettuce, Greenhouse Grown Green Leaf is pliable with a mild, light crunch. It requires little time to prepare and no kitchen equipment. It’s best torn by hand and assembled last minute. Ideal for lighter meals like shrimp, salmon, or scallops and pairs well with citrus vinaigrettes and aromatic herbs.
Look for thick, loose leaves on top with an even, bright green color and a long V shape at the bottom. Store green leaf lettuce in your fridge and wash it right before eating.
These are the three varieties of greens Tanimura & Antle currently offer as part of their Greenhouse Grown product family, and we know you’ll love every single one.
Why We Love Tanimura & Antle
The simple answer is… sustainability. Their passion for the produce they grow, their donations to charities, and the employees lives they support — it’s unbelievable. It’s easy to see they truly love what they do in the way they operate and give back to the community. Plus, their premium fresh produce items are always high-quality — fresh, crisp, crunchy, and buttery, depending on which type you buy.
Look for the Tanimura & Antle name in your produce aisle for premium, fresh additions to your favorite recipes.
Charred Sweet Broccoli With Pancetta And Part