Orlando World Center Marriott has launched “HyCube,’’ a modular hydroponic vegetable production system in partnership with Eco Convergence Group Inc., an Orlando-based engineering and technology development company focusing on sustainability.
The resort (the world’s largest Marriott at 2,009 rooms) says the HyCube’s data-driven, precisely controlled, patent-pending hydroponic system is constructed in an illuminated modern structure next to the hotel’s main kitchen and incorporates mineral-rich nutrient solutions in place of soil to cultivate produce for the nine dining outlets and 450,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
The hotel’s Executive Chef, Eric Martinez, and his culinary team will have a constant bounty of fresh, healthy produce, such as lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, herbs, microgreens and edible flowers, as well as other leafy greens, all grown from organic, non-GMO seeds. The innovative production method – involving semiconductor industry-inspired techniques for precise control of the micro-environment, including air and water quality, temperature and humidity, light conditions and nutrients – allows for a steady yield of crisp, flavorful, and nutritious produce without seasonal and regional limitations.
Additionally, when compared to traditional farming, the resort says HyCube consumes up to 90 percent less water and will reduce crop cycle by 20 percent without the use of harmful chemicals like pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, etc. Plant extracts will be used to create fresh green drinks and probiotic drinks, and the water filtration system will provide purified water that will be bottled and offered in the Central Pantry, a “grab-and-go” outlet within the hotel.
“The HyCube is transforming the way produce is sourced for hotels and restaurants,” said Cristian Toma, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer for 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. We are thrilled to be partnered with Orlando World Center Marriott on launching the very first HyCube in the world.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about the addition of the hydroponic garden and continuing to work with Eco Convergence Group, whose local farms will supplement our onsite growing efforts,” said Ralph Scatena, general manager at Orlando World Center Marriott. “Our chefs can rely on high-quality produce year-round to inspire new dishes and complement existing ones, while our guests will reap the benefits of our true ‘pick-to-plate’ practices through more vibrant colors, sharper flavors and crisper textures.
Scatena said the resort has added function space with the Harvest Terrace, which will be an ideal location for events of up to 250 attendees and could expand to as many as 750 by utilizing the terrace in conjunction with our newest restaurant, Latitude & Longitude, with the hydroponic garden as the backdrop, creating a truly unique experience.”