Veggy Malta went to Zejtun to meet up with Renny Desira, owner of Renny’s Herbs and Salads. Renny’s operation is probably the oldest hydroponic farm in the island. He and his wife have been working in their hydroponic farm since 1997. That’s 21 long years.
I caught them whilst they were preparing some products for their clients. Their main client base are supermarkets and chefs, but they also have a few individual consumers. Everything is hand picked and packed. There is very little time to rest. There is always something to do. Either plant the seeds, or fixing something, organise the greenhouses, harvest and pack the produce
If you want to cure a cold, chew three sage leaves until it annoys you. Its oil will kill the bacteria. Renny Desira
But what is hydroponics? Unlike normal agriculture where the plants grow in the soil, in hydroponics the soil is replaced with water rich in minerals constantly pumped around the roots. In practice plants grow through photosynthesis, which is the process by which they use sunlight and the chemicals inside the leaves (chlorophyll) to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. Plants use soil for water and nutrients, but they will live without the soil given both water and nutrients.
What grows at Renny’s hydroponic farm?
Renny grows a whole list of vegetables and herbs. The list of herbs includes: marjoram, (shiso, lemon, purple and bush) basil,sage, tarragon, thyme, (garlic and onion) chives, coriander, dill, rosemary, curly parsley, lemon verbana, lemon balm, bay leaves, (chocolate, pineapple and citrus) mint. The list of salad products includes: (fancy and purple) lettuce, (red and green) oak lettuce, butterhead and lollo biondo. 6 different types of mustard. You can also find some Asian salad varieties like mizuna. Renny also has a list of microgreens including kohlrabi, red cabbage, garden crescent, alfa alfa and radish.
One nice patch inside the green house is the section dedicated to edible flowers.
Renny has a facebook page. To order it is best to contact them before going to Zejtun.