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The Life of Organic Lettuce, From Seed to Table

earthbound farm

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Earthbound Farm, where I saw up close how much love, care and hard work goes into giving us the organic pre-packaged salad greens we all love.

It was an amazing experience, and my respect for produce growers and organic farmers is bigger than ever. I had no idea what a feat it is to get such a perishable product from farm to your fridge – and for such a reasonable price!

During the trip we toured some of Earthbound’s “ranches” and saw their greens at almost every stage of the production process, from seed to packaging. Since many of us don’t see lettuce outside of our kitchens, grocery stores and farmer’s markets, I wanted to share what I learned about the life of organic lettuce. Here’s how it works…

earthbound farm

First of course, you need the seed. Earthbound buys some seed and grows some in greenhouses like these.

earthbound farm

Once the plants have turned to seed, tiny little lettuces are grown in test tubes

earthbound farm

until they’re big enough to plant.

earthbound farm

Then Mother Nature gets to work, alongside a vast team of farmers, plant biologists, organic growing experts, pest control specialists, harvesters, and more.

earthbound farm

The greens (every kind you can imagine) grow…

earthbound farm

and grow…

earthbound farm

(and get snacked on by bloggers like Maggy, Ashley and Amie)

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then grow some more…

earthbound farm

earthbound farm

until they’re ready to pick, at which point they get harvested in different ways, depending on the type of green. This is Earthbound’s famous Spring Mix being harvested:

earthbound farm

After being cut, it floats up this conveyer belt

earthbound farm

and shoots out into these blue boxes,

earthbound farm

which go right into refrigerated trucks within an hour or two, to preserve the shelf-life and prevent the growth of pathogens.

earthbound farm

The trucks then head over to Earthbound’s headquarters and get unloaded into a huge refrigerated warehouse.

earthbound farm

Before heading to processing, each batch is tested for potentially harmful pathogens. Only the cleanest greens make it to the next stage.

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From there the greens get sorted, washed (much more thoroughly than we would probably wash them at home) and packaged.

earthbound farm

earthbound farm

The plant where all this goes down is immaculate, and every person – both worker and visitor – is covered from head to toe in clean garments, gloves, hairnets, shoe covers, etc. All of this helps to keep your food super safe.

earthbound farm

By the end of the whole process, Earthbound greens are clean, tightly wrapped in 100% post-consumer plastic clamshells, and set to ship to your local store. Within a few days, they’ll be on your table and ready to eat.

earthbound farm

Pretty incredible, right?!

So next time you open a package of organic greens, give a little woot-woot! to the hundreds of people who have worked hard to put that delicious, clean, safe, pesticide-free organic salad on your table 🙂

earthbound farm

This post is brought to you by Earthbound Farm as part of our ongoing partnership. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    shelley
    October 10, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Everything about this is just awesome. When I think of all the fruits and veggies I eat (I’m a vegetarian, so that’s A LOT!) each going through a similar process, I wonder how our food is really so cheap. Seeing the care that goes into this organic food reassures me that spending the extra pennies or dollars on organic produce is a true bargain. Great, great post!

    • Reply
      Amelia
      October 11, 2013 at 9:04 am

      Thank you, Shelley!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    October 17, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Loved the step-by-step process you shared!! And that lettuce-eating photo…hahaha 🙂

  • Reply
    Edward LaForge
    November 1, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Is the organic lettuce keep better in a cool place or in the fridge in my fridge it seems to get slimy quicker?????

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