Last year in the Eutrema research grow room we decided to attempt to grow samphire (Salicornia europaea) hydroponically. We did this after speaking to several commercial horticultural nurseries, all of whom had tried to grow this unusual maritime crop. All had followed the usual instructions for growing samphire found on the internet, and all had failed and were wondering if it was even possible to cultivate hydroponic samphire.
Initially we found it to be very difficult with little-to-no growth after germination. Then we changed a couple of environmental variables. BOOM! The yields suddenly shot up to amazing levels.
One of the key variables to control was the active chlorine in the tap water being added to the hydroponic system. The addition of Horticultural Dechlorinator instantly made a big difference to the growth rates achieved and overall crop quality.
These yields were so high and the taste so delicious, that we decided to commercialise this as a new business venture. So now we are setting up a new grow facility to grow samphire commercially. We are seeking partners all along the supply chain to make this a success. This has been a really interesting project that has required a lot of cross over from our core technical expertise in plant nutrition, biostimulants, and crop health.
So what makes Eutrema samphire so special:
- It can be eaten raw. This is because, unlike other commercial sources of samphire, our samphire is grown hydroponically in a controlled environment indoors. This massively reduces the risk of microbial contamination. Plus it produces a crisp but tender crop, rather than stems that need to be heated to make them tender.
- Consistent quality. Whilst samphire grown outdoors (either farmed or wild-harvested) tastes great in the middle of summer, in the winter the quality of imported samphire can be highly variable. Some imported samphire is tasty, at other times it is reported to be a bit ‘twiggy’. Hydroponic samphire is crisp and juicy.
- A lower carbon footprint. Our samphire has a lower carbon emission than air freighted samphire. Air freighted samphire is imported into the UK from Israel, Morocco, or Mexico. We have calculated that our total carbon footprint for growing a kilo of samphire is lower than that for just the transportation of the imported material. Any carbon emissions for growing the imported crop would be on top of this further.
So if you like the sound of our samphire and would like to know more, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org