He Ask ... She Ask


1.  Is FRESH FIELD organic ?

I like to argue that our growing method incorporates the best of organic and inorganic farming.  To be organic, gardening practice should contain the following features:


At Lettuce Entertain You  ...

no chemical herbicides, pesticides

We use botanical repellant,  inter-cropping and mechanical preventive methods.  

no chemical fertilizers (using municipal sewage sludge is not organic)

We use the purest form of  chemical fertilizers available for agricultural application.  These are the same chemicals found in soil and organic compost.  The only difference between organic and inorganic fertilizer is in the manner in which they are manufactured. 

should improving the soil structure and its level of organic matter by applying organic compost and other natural fertilizers

We use soilless culture. 

should discourage soil erosion and must boost nutrient levels in soil

We use soilless culture. 

should minimizing damage to soil structure

We use soilless culture. 

genetically modified or Bt seeds should not be use

At Lettuce Entertain You Farm Corporation, we grow our plants using F1, Hybrid seeds and not genetically modified or Bt seeds.


2.  Are vegetables / herbs from hydroponic culture safe ?

Tissue analyses of vegetables grown in the soil and by different types of soil-less system have shown that there is no significant difference in the various macronutrients and micronutrients among the vegetables grown using the different methods.


In the case of vegetables, consumers' key apprehension about eating vegetables grown by soil-less system are in two areas, and they are right to be concerned.


Once concern relates to whether vegetables grown by soil-less systems accumulate excessive amount of chemicals so that they become harmful to human health.  This view is derived from the observation that the roots of the vegetables are exposed to artificial chemicals all the time.


There is a general perception that because nutrient formulations for soil-less system contains a mixture of different chemicals, the formulations are artificial as the chemicals used are artificial.  However, in reality, there is really no such thing as artificial chemicals when it comes to plant nutrition.


Plants absorb minerals from the soil for healthy growth.  Soil scientist and plant physiologist have, for years, conducted extensive research to establish the range and quantum of such minerals which the plants absorbs from the soil.  It is based on these findings that nutrient formulations are developed for soil-less cultures.  The formulations contain the same minerals as those found in the soil.  These minerals, which are the basic forms of chemical compounds, are similar to those present in the soil.  Therefore, the nutrient solutions do not contain artificial chemicals as the mineral components are exactly similar to those found in soil.


The second concern is that since the nutrient solution is artificially formulated, will the vegetables grown by the soil-less system lack certain micronutrients as compared to those grown in the soil.

Studies showed that the two concerns were not valid as there was no significant difference in the macronutrients and micronutrients accumulated in he tissues of the vegetables, irrespective of the growing methods.  As expected, the plants would absorb the same mineral from the soil or from the nutrient solution since the nutrient solution contains the same essential minerals which the plants need.


The results were published in the ASEAN FOOD JOURNAL Volume 10.  And these results were consistently supported by studies conducted at the Singapore Polytechnic.
The Dutch have shown us how safe it is to eat greens grown by soil-less systems.  To build up its horticultural industry and to fulfill the need for greens, the Dutch has developed soil-less systems for extensive greens produced in glasshouses. 


For several decades, the Dutch have been consuming lettuces, tomatoes, peppers and other greens grown by soil-less system.


Besides, we have not read of any adverse health reports on the Dutch population so far, have we ?


3Are vegetables / herbs from hydroponic culture considered genetically modified foods ?

A very big no.  The type of culture does not transform a plant into a genetically modified  food product.  Genetically modified  food is a food where genes between unrelated species exist.  This is totally different from hybridization where cross-breeding is limited to genes from the same families. 


What hydroponics or aeroponics does is to create the most ideal growing condition for the plant.





4.  What is the difference between soil grown and hydroponic culture with regards to providing plants with necessary nutrients ?


There is no difference between plants grown under soil less culture and those grown in soil.  In soil both the organic and inorganic components must be decomposed into inorganic elements, such as calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, iron and others before they are available to plants.  These elements adhere to the soil particles and are exchanged into the soil solution where they are absorbed by the plants.  In aeroponics or hydroponics, the plant roots are moistened with nutrient solution containing the elements.


5.  What is the effect of hydroponic culture on the environment ?

The major concern of environmental group when it comes to the agricultural sector would be the soil erosion, soil degradation, amount of chemical pesticides injected into the environment and agricultural waste water with fertilizer sipping into the ground water.


At Lettuce Entertain You Farm Corporation, all these are "none issue". 


First, the agricultural practice does not call for the use of soil at any stage in the plant's development. 


Secondly, the use of chemical pesticides is against our policy.  

And finally, the water we use are recycled and monitored.  Agricultural waste water is very minimal, if any,  as this is confine only to leakages within the irrigation system.


6.  Are hydroponic grown fresh produce less tastier than soil grown ?


Have you ever wonder why your lettuce taste bitter ?  Have you ever wonder why the tomatoes in your supermarket bag taste like a ball of water color ?  The reasons are usually cause by farming practice and nothing to do with the use of organic or inorganic fertilizer nor the presence of soil.  The taste  is determined either by the growth duration of the plant and the strength of fertilizer applied. 


In the case of hydroponic culture, grower can manipulate these two factors to his advantage and come up with a superb fresh produce. 



Fresh Field 

Garden Mix Mesclun >>





Lettuce is lovely
It is divine
Eat lots of lettuce
And you will feel fine !







7.  Why is lettuce so good to eat ?
  • Lettuce contains 95% water;
  • Lettuce has a small amount of dietary fiber;
  • Darker varieties provide beta carotene and are more nutritious;
  • Some varieties of lettuce have a higher percentage of natural sugars while others are more bitter.  The more bitter ones have higher levels of antioxidants;
  • Lettuce is a good sources of folate (one of the B vitamins).

Iceberg Leaf Lettuce Romaine

Serving size

262 g

1/2 head

100 g 100 g 

inner leaf



20 15

Carbohydrate (g) 

9 4 2

Fiber (g)

3 2 2

Protein (g)

3 1 2

Potassium (mg)

350 260 290

Sodium (mg)

30 10 10

Vitamin A (% Daily Value)

10 40 50

Vitamin C (% Daily Value)

20 30 40

Calcium (% Daily Value)

6 6 4

Iron (% Daily Value)

6 8 6

8.  I have noticed that if I buy a lettuce from the supermarket, and if I buy a Fresh Field Salad Greens bag, the bag of lettuce lasts a lot longer.  What are they doing to the lettuce in the bag ? Are they using some sort of chemical preservative ?

The collection of features from our processing and packaging procedure basically keeps our bag of mesclun fresh longer (without any use of preservatives) by :

  • It changes the way the green leaves behave. The green leaves are still alive even after you pick the lettuce, and you want to keep them alive as long as possible by changing their behavior;

  • It discourages bacteria;

  • Block the mode of action and biosynthesis of ethylene, a ubiquitous plant hormone which promotes aging and senescence;

  • Reduce rots by directly inhibiting the growth of pathogens and by maintaining the health and integrity of the plant tissue, which reduces its susceptibility to infection;

  • Slow yellowing of green tissues by preventing chlorophyll degradation; and

  • Maintain the food, nutritional value and flavours of the produce by slowing the loss of food reserves, particularly sugars, inhibiting the loss of labile vitamins such as vitamins A and C, and by slowing the accumulation of undesirable secondary metabolites in the plant's tissues, such as free ammonia.