Chef Steve Sicinski handpicks baby pea sprout tendrils for his signature chopped salad from a micro green garden growing inside his Sea Glass kitchen at Maine’s luxurious Inn by the Sea, just south of Portland. Baby beet tops, cilantro, spicy mizuna or tatsoi all grow in flats just at arm’s length from the chef thanks to the work of Saco farmers who plant and deliver newly sprouted herbs and micro greens right to his door. These Teenie Greenies(R) are Cultivation Works (R) newest social enterprise, which teaches adults with disabilities to grow fresh, healthy produce in a sustainable way.
The Chef was drawn to Teenie Greenies both for their delicious product and for the sustainable farming and business opportunities provided to local adults with disabilities.
The greens arrive growing in flats with just their delicate first leaves developed, packed with flavor and nutrients. It’s like having fields- but very tiny stacked fields- at the chef’s fingertips no matter the season. Chef Sicinski picks and uses the greens and herbs as restaurant orders come in- can’t get fresher or more local than that according to the Chef.
The micro greens are crisp and terrifically flavorful so the Chef uses them generously in his signature Chopped and baby Kale salads, and for taste and texture throughout his menu. Sea Glass, Inn by the Sea’s ocean view restaurant, serves breakfast lunch and dinner year round, and Sicinski is finding delicious ways to incorporate micro greens from his kitchen’s mini gardens into all three menus.
Cultivation Works(R) offers agricultural opportunities and training for people with intellectual disabilities and helps them develop practical skills for sustainable farming while gaining confidence in their abilities. Adults go to greenhouses to learn good agricultural practices using non- GMO seeds and organic soil.
Having Cultivation Works farmers hand deliver trays with growing micro greens to many of Greater Portland region’s best restaurants such as Street & Company, Aurora Provisions, Sonny’s and Timber not only supports busy chefs, but is an excellent work-related learning experience for the producers as they work towards financial independence.
Chef Sicinski is 100% behind the startup program, and looks forward to the next Cultivation Works(R) Teenie Greenies(R) delivery- a brand new mix of red and green baby mustard greens guests in Sea Glass are sure sure to enjoy.