Having an herb and produce garden on site is not exactly new in the hotel world, but the Orlando World Center Marriott is doing it on a grander scale than most.
The world's largest Marriott has installed a state of the art hydroponic vegetable garden near the hotel's main kitchen, growing produce for the tables of its nine restaurants and 450,000 square feet of meeting space.
The 2,000-square-foot, multi-tiered, and illuminated HyCube modular garden, which grows plants in a liquid nutrient solution rather than dirt, does double duty as the centerpiece of a new event space, the Harvest Terrace, which can host groups of up to 250, or 750 by utilizing the new adjacent restaurant, Latitude & Longitude.
Able to produce 100,000 heads of lettuce and 13,000 pounds of herbs and greens every year, the first hotel-installed HyCube will produce greens ranging from baby spinach and herbs to arugula and edible flowers that are non-GMO, pesticide free, and available year-round. The HyCube is more than a growing rack -- it's essentially a micro-environment controlled for air and water quality, as well as ideal temperature, humidity, and light conditions. It uses 90 percent less water than traditional farming methods.
"With high consumer demand for clean foods and farm-to-table local sourcing, the HyCube takes it to the highest possible freshness and purity by growing greens hydroponically right on-site," says Dr. Cristian Toma, CEO of HyCube developer Eco Convergence Group. "With high consumer demand for clean foods and farm-to-table local sourcing, the HyCube takes it to the highest possible freshness and purity by growing greens hydroponically right on-site. Chefs can then pick their produce within steps from the kitchen where the food is being prepared and plated."
Along with supplying the hotel's chefs and bartenders, the HyCube will produce fresh green drinks and probiotic drinks, as well as purified water that will be bottled and offered in the property's Central Pantry store.
In addition to the HyCube's "pick-to-plate" greens, Eco Convergence Group's local farms will provide a more traditional source of farm-to-table produce for the World Center Marriott's dining outlets and event kitchens.