Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Live Salad Bar

Living, growing, plants, sold directly to eaters
  [vote for,

Normally, a salad bar has bowls of various types of plants, all chopped up. Any bit of greenery that doesn't get eaten within several hours of being put out on the bar wilts, and needs to be thrown away.

I propose a salad bar that's stocked with real live plants, each in it's own planter, with either dirt or some sort of hydroponic growth medium. The lights over the salad bar would be selected to encourage plant growth.

Diner patrons would go to the salad bar, take a plate and plant shears, and snip off the bits of the plant that they want to eat. The remaining parts of the plants, instead of wilting and needing to be thrown away, keeps growing.

goldbb, Jan 04 2010

LED Grow Lights http://www.myhydroponicgardening.com/
Hydroponic Salad Grow lights [Orion79, Jul 07 2010]

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       Very thoughtful and nice idea. Is it baked/wilted already? I've not seen it if it is.
blissmiss, Jan 04 2010

       Hydroponic salad bar?
swimswim, Jan 04 2010

       Excellent idea. Would work for beef too.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 04 2010

       Jungle supermarket?
pocmloc, Jan 04 2010

       would work o.k. if you like grass for your salad (or cress at a pinch) but your usual salad stuff wouldn't really take to being cut up like this. sorry, but interesting thought nonetheless.
po, Jan 04 2010

       Surely clipping a few leaves from a lettuce wouldn't kill it stone dead? Also, for dicots, you could eat the middle bit but leave behind the essential root and tip.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 04 2010

       probably not - the patrons would need gardening lessons along with their meal.
po, Jan 04 2010

       How do you keep out the insects and other creepy creatures? Normally a salad bar is in a chilled environment keeping cut vegetables fresh as well as retarding bacteria and other organic life forms. You certainly cannot refrigerate live growing plants.
Jscotty, Jan 04 2010

       Patrons need gardening lessons? How 'bout just have a trained veggie gardener at the salad bar, just as you would have a trained chef back at the grill?   

       //chilled environment// as long as you don't freeze 'em, they're fine. A veg's normal core temp can drop substantially below that of most people I know.
lurch, Jan 04 2010

       We get some yummy lettuce that looks like it must be hydroponic - still has root structure attached. If you put it in water in the frig it will keep for a long time.
normzone, Jan 04 2010

       Leaf lettuce (or romaine [rocket]) will take regular trimming for fresh greens, as will spinach to a lesser extent. The problem is it takes 4-5 plants to produce a enough salad for 1 person nightly. And while a given plant will produce for a couple of months, it also has to grow for a couple of months before that. If you try this, you'd better have a very large salad bar.
MechE, Jan 04 2010

       // The problem is it takes 4-5 plants to produce a enough salad for 1 person nightly.// What?! I don't know how big your lettuce heads are but one head of lettuce easily serves more than 5-6 people in one sitting.
Jscotty, Jan 04 2010

       If there's an adjacent greenhouse, then any plants that are well-clipped by customers can simply be moved out of the salad bar, and into the greenhouse, to give the plant time to grow back.
goldbb, Jan 04 2010

       [Jscotty] Please note I said leaf lettuce, and trimming, not cutting. While a fully grown head of lettuce or leaf lettuce plant does provide enough for multiple servings, the growth rate, once it starts producing, is about one salad per 5 days. Thus if you trim enough off for one salad a night, you need five plants to avoid over cutting.
MechE, Jan 04 2010

       This would work well as an addition to existing nurserys or garden centers where there is enough room to rotate the crops.   

       Thank you for the idea.
DrWorm, Jan 05 2010


       I refer you to the passage in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe", where scientists have bred an animal that actually wants to be eaten and is capable of saying so, clearly and distinctly.   

       "Something off my shoulder? Or may I urge you to consider my liver? I've been forcefeeding myself for months."
neuro, Jan 05 2010

       + a good idea with some of the added suggestions. it would be difficult for things like avacados which grow on trees, but picking tiny tomatoes and such could be fun and educational for some people and children, too.
xandram, Jan 05 2010

       If this would be a large industrie I'm sure we would get bonzai olive trees. Totally doable great idea.
zeno, Jan 06 2010

       You should be issued a small remote-controlled combine harvester with which to harvest and create your perfect salad.
hippo, Jan 06 2010

       I can see it now . . . right above the sneeze-guard are LED grow lights instead of the normal lights.
Orion79, Jul 07 2010

       People with salad gardens do this all the time: pick some, leave the rest of the plant to grow back. I envision green plants in trays. After some trimming they are returned to the greenhouse to regenerate for a week.
bungston, Jul 07 2010

       I can see this being a real concept at high end salad bars. For those interested in implementing this idea at home now, visit http://www.hydrogrowled.com. You might find some ideas there.
PlantPeddler, Aug 11 2014


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