Harvest2Order is the first ever microgreen salad bar in the US which hydroponically grows and harvests on site, offering a transparent farm-to-table experience. Its owners, Liz Vaknin and Shelley Golan, both NYC-born Israelis who met each other in Herzliya, bring nutrition and flavor to fast casual dining, with a seasonally curated menu that sources local ingredients.

How local? Most of the salads you’ll be served are kept on the premises in futuristic, hydroponic display cases, and are cut, mixed and served before your eyes. In other words, it’s the salad equivalent of Benihana. Vaknin and Golan are currently sourcing their plantlets from a farm in Riverhead, Long Island, receiving daily deliveries of three-to-five-inch tall seedlings.

Harvest2Order salad / Photo credit: Harvest2Order on Facebook
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The don’t mix the seedlings. “If you want to shake your salad up after you get it, that’s cool, but for us, it’s all about tasting the microgreens and understanding that you don’t necessarily have to eat them with dressing,” Vaknin told AM New York.

Microgreens should be grown from special uncoated seeds (non thallium) vegetable green, harvested after sprouting as shoots, that are used both as a visual and super food as it has 4 to 40 times more nutrients.

Microgreens ready to be harvesteded behind the counter at Harvest2Order / Photo credit: courtesy Harvest2Order

Microgreen, according to Liz Vaknin, is the stage between sprouts and baby greens. At no more than 14 days of age, the vegetable seedlings “retain all of the nutrients of their seeds and don’t really need additional nutrients to grow.”

Accoding to Vaknin, those tiny green soldiers pack a large amount of nutrients and micro-nutrients, and require only a small percentage of the water they would guzzle up if allowed to mature.

Web MD suggests that researchers have found that microgreens like red cabbage, cilantro, and radish contain up to 40 times higher levels of vital nutrients than their mature counterparts.

“The microgreens were four- to 40-fold more concentrated with nutrients than their mature counterparts,” according to researcher Qin Wang, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland in College Park. “When we first got the results we had to rush to double and triple check them.”

Vaknin and Golan’s revolutionary salad bar is located inside the North 3rd Street Market in Williamsburg, a new indoor food hall that just opened this spring.

“Shelley and I come from backgrounds where salad is a big part of a culture,” Vaknin told AM New York recently, explaining: “and we just weren’t happy with what we were eating in New York. The greens are so flavorless… Everybody focuses on toppings, and then you have this huge bowl that’s mostly greens. It’s kind of an afterthought. We don’t know why.”

A basic microgreens and dressing salad costs $9; salad with two basic toppings and premiums will cost you $12; a protein will bring the price up to $14. They also serve sandwiches.

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