Alegría Fresh in Laguna Beach—Growing a
Bumper Crop of Green Power
Posted By: Priscilla Mayfield, Orange CoastBlog
On a small, probably unbuildable lot near Big Bend on Laguna
Canyon Road, rows of lush green plants on vertical posts reach
toward the sky. Walls of leafy greens—lettuces, chard, collards,
spinach—cool the steamy canyon air. Sprawling tomato vines
bend under the weight of colorful heirlooms and bunched
cherries. There are chilies of every color and size, including
small, pointy, lipstick-red Mexican Apache chilies, new to me.
Shorter stacks of strawberry pots have their own section, with
jewel-like fruit peeking out all over.
It’s Alegría Fresh, the newest venture of serial entrepreneur
Erik Cutter. After careers in marketing and magazines (he
published Baja Life magazine for 16 years), he founded
EnviroIngenuity, which develops and consults on sustainable,
eco-friendly business. Cutter investigated the Verti-Gro hydroponic, vertical gardening system—he has a keen interest
in nutrition, and gardened on the deck of his Bluebird Canyon
home. He calls Alegría the farmacy—the plants are maintained
with minimal water, no pesticides, and carefully monitored
feeding to maximize nutritional content. Plain old dirt is just for
underfoot, here—the growing medium in all the pots is coir,
ground-up coconut husks, fantastic at holding moisture for the roots, but unable to support soil-borne pathogens like E. coli.
But the point of the farmacy is to feed people, and “bouquets” of about 15 different greens, vegetables, and herbs, each enough for four or five family-size salads, can be ordered by phone to pick up at the growing site—they’ll have been harvested that same day. ($25; call 949-294-3554 to order.) Laguna Beach residents can also have bouquets delivered, starting at $100 per month for once-a-week service; delivery routes for other O.C. cities are planned. Or you can grow your own. Alegria will deliver Verti-Gro hydroponic tower kits with everything you need for porch or patio, including your choice of plants (starting at $230). Info for all the plans is available at the Alegría Fresh web site.
EnviroIngenuity was founded in 2009 by Erik Cutter. The company is comprised of forward-thinking professionals, whose goal is to take advantage of the growing demand for more efficient, cost effective sustainable energy solutions, employing solar PV, hi-efficiency LED lighting, green building and hydroponic vertical food production technologies, the latest venture being the development of the Alegría Farm. EnviroIngenuity’s mission is "advancingreenergy" and reducing waste, thus better utilizing limited natural resources. As we invest in a lower carbon future, the EnviroIngenuity team is focused on helping organizations move forward to deploy sustainable energy solutions using disruptive technologies. www.EnviroIngenuity.com