INTERNATIONAL – The produce space is shrinking. SproutsIO, a device that resembles an old-school iMac G4 with swooping overhead light, is the brainchild of architect Jennifer Broutin Farah.
She came up with the idea for a compact, veggie-growing device while working on rooftop gardens for the New York City Parks Department, then developed a scaled-down model for her MIT master’s program.
For the past 18 months, SproutsIO has been used in such restaurants as Boston’s Menton, owned by James Beard-winning chef Barbara Lynch, and the Michelin-starred NoMad in New York. It weighs only about 12 pounds, so chefs can carry it into the dining room to garnish a dish tableside.
The indented tray, measuring a mere 12 inches across, arrives packed with seeds. The adjustable LED lamp overhangs it as a camera inside the light scans and monitors them, switching the colour of the lights to signal new growth phases.
Perhaps the only thing more amazing than the size is the time it takes for the plants to grow. In 20 days—half the typical duration—the tiny machine can produce enough lettuce for your next dinner party. Shishitos and tomatoes take about six weeks.