Awareness of hydroponic growing is on the rise. Last year, Google announced that search interest in hydroponic gardens rose by 350%. People are curious and Lettuce Grow is a pioneering new brand helping them take the leap and try home growing for themselves.
They are on the mission to empower consumers to lead the transition to a sustainable food system. Its oroginal hydroponic gardening system, the Farmstand, helped people grow and harvest 20% of their own fresh produce, eliminating food waste and reducing water and carbon impact by more than 98%.
I had the pleasure to chat with Jacob Pechenik, Founder and CEO of Lettuce Grow a while back (you can read the interview here). This time we talked about the expanding interest of consumers in growing at home – and the launch of their new product, the Farmstand Nook.
“I think people are drawn to the consistency, ease and enjoyment that growing your own food brings,” Pechenik began. “We’re also collectively going through a period of inflation, as you know. The USDA reported that food-at-home prices increased 11.4 percent in 2022 compared with 2021 – when you grow your own groceries you take back control. With Lettuce Grow, you choose your seedlings, only harvest what you need, and aren’t at the mercy of inflation, price creep, and other factors like recalls and shortages, which we all saw with the price and availability of eggs,” he further explained.
Lettuce Grow grew 1,665% between 2019 and 2021. To support its growth, it now has five seedling farms in the US, which collectively have the capacity to grow many millions of seedlings per month and to position Lettuce Grow as the largest edible young plant producer. If you’re nervous about growing your own food, Lettuce Grow’s seedlings are here to help. They have done the hardest part, the germination and the you receive healthy baby plants which are already two weeks old and ready to thrive, even if you are new to hydroponics.
When Lettuce Grow launched the original Farmstand in 2017, it was designed for outdoor growing – like having one’s own miniature farm in the backyard. It was, and continues to be, really popular, but Lettuce Grow discovered many of its growers wanted to bring it inside, when they lacked outdoor space, lived somewhere with a climate not conducive to year-round growing, or just wanted their personal farm closer to the kitchen. This drove the company to introduce LED glow rings in 2020, which customers could opt to add to their Farmstands for indoor growing and respond directly to the customer needs.
“We’ve always listened to growers’ suggestions. A lot of the accessories we’ve introduced to the product line were inspired by customer feedback—like the dolly for effortless portability, and the new digital pH-reader pen,” Pechenik mentioned.
This week, Lettuce Grow introduced the Farmstand Nook, the second edition of its flagship product, designed to make it even easier to grow produce indoors, in tight spaces and across seasons. With enhancements including a smaller tank and fully integrated grow lights, the Farmstand Nook empowers any home chef to grow the best ingredients just steps from their stovetop.
“With the launch of the Farmstand Nook, we’ve provided a new, more compact option for our indoor growers. It’s a turnkey system that lets you grow 20 plants simultaneously with new features including fully integrated grow lights, a smart timer, digital pH pen, and a water-resistant floor mat,” he explained.
Lettuce Grow saw that customers consistently commented on how much they love to watch their plants grow. With the more compact design of the Farmstand Nook, growers have increased choices on where to place it in the home. It’s like a living pantry for produce that the whole family can enjoy and engage with.
“The original Farmstand is amazing at growing a broad variety of plants in a range of climates and can also be brought indoors during winter months with our Glow Rings. Since launching Glow Rings, we’ve seen indoor growing demand surge. Plants grown indoors are nowhere near as thirsty as those grown outside, say, in hot and humid August in Texas, so this led us to rethink the size of the water tank and allow for an overall smaller design. In tandem, we were also able to rethink how we pack and ship the unit, ultimately removing a significant amount of material and shipping costs, while improving sustainability in our production and supply chain,” Pechenik elaborated on the question what led to this innovation and introduction of Nook.
There has been an explosion of interested that goes beyond the climate change and interested. More people are seeing the value of home-harvested produce. Of course, there’s the practical and pragmatic things: the nutritional aspects, and now with inflation, the return on investment is even more compelling when you can grow up to $1500 per year. Considering climate change, growing your own food significantly reduces food miles and the related carbon emissions by 99%. There’s also massive water savings thanks to the controlled hydroponic system.
Pechenik explained, “Beyond all that, when you get to the root of it all, there’s simply a magic in growing your own food. Seeing it flourish from seedling to harvest in just a few weeks. I think people are finding value and satisfaction in reconnecting with nature, sharing the experience with their kids, partners, and friends, and when they get excited about it, people around them get curious too.”
Jacob Pechenik’s ambition for the future is to see a world where thriving edible gardens are common in everyday households. “I like to think that Lettuce Grow is helping people get a little closer to that. Every product or piece of content we create is meant to make growing, harvesting, preparing, and eating more engaging, nutritious, and rewarding – even for people who think they can’t keep a cactus alive – you can grow your own greens,” he concludes.