Growing Silmusalaatti is a combination of handwork and automation. Our growing facility in Finland is located in Vaarala, Vantaa, a mere 15 kilometres from the Helsinki centre. What makes our greenhouse special is the fact that it is partially underground and there are no windows. This combination allows us to reach the best possible energy efficiency. Between February and March 2016, our electricity bill came to 204.56 Euros including transfer payments and wind energy contributions. This despite the fact that we use direct electric heating and even use electricity to heat the incoming cold water too.
The little energy we require is wind-generated electricity from Vantaa Energy.
The salads are grown from the cleanest of ingredients: from organic seeds and using Lake Päijänne water. The seeds we use are meant for germination purposes and microbiologically tested several times. Our foreign seeds are tested for salmonella, listeria, and STEC at an approved laboratory prior to shipping. Once the seeds arrive in Finland, strand samples are collected in accordance with Evira (the Finnish Food Safety Authority) guidelines, the samples are germinated according to our process separate from the production batches, and finally the germinated test batch is tested for salmonella, listeria, and STEC at the MetropoliLaboratorio in Viikki. The seed batch is taken to production use after negative test results arrive. In addition, we always wash and pasteurise (heating in water at 75-85 degrees Celsius for 20 seconds) the seeds before cultivation begins. At the germination stage, the seeds are grown in a pressurised clean premise where air is let in via an HEPA filter. We use clean tap water for germination, and the water is tested every three months.
The Silmusalaatti flavour comes from carefully selected varieties and their mixture ratio. No extra flavourings or preservatives are added to the salads – our aim is to keep Silmusalaatti pure and organic.
The water we use is purified water from Lake Päijänne, supplied by the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) via the longest continuous bedrock tunnel in the world.
We germinate the seeds used in the Silmusalaatti products in a computer-controlled environment and observe the following parameters: air temperature, humidity and flow rate, water temperature and flow rate, mechanical stress (moving and blowing).
At the sprouting stage, we rinse the raw ingredients under running water for more than a hundred times. After the germination stage, the sprouts are let to grow to their final size in their containers. Finally, Silmusalaatti receives phototreatment to initiate photosynthesis that gives them their lovely green colour (chlorophyll).
At the packaging stage we place the lids on the Silmusalaatti containers and move them to cold storage to await transportation. Regrettably, the container is made of plastic for now, but we aim to move on to biodegradable packaging by the year 2020. The plastic container is important in minimising food loss, as the current container gives Silmusalaatti a shelf life of 14 days. We do not use cardboard sales lot packaging – instead, we use recyclable Transbox cases that are cleaned before reuse. Our greenhouse is located close to central firms’ terminals and our customers. This minimises the need for transportation both in terms of transportation instances and travelled distances. Nature will be grateful for this.