Alegria Fresh + OC Produce = A (Really) Great Park

You might remember Alegria Fresh, the futuristic Laguna Canyon “farmacy” I’ve written about before in Taste of Orange County. Owner Erik Cutter envisions his vertical, hydroponic growing system making fresh vegetables available to anyone with even a few square feet of gardening space. Now, Cutter’s taken his act on the road, installing a new demonstration garden at the Orange County Great Park.

In partnership with farmers market fave and Great Park grower OC Produce, Alegria planted more than 30,000 plants on a mere half acre of land. At a tour of the grounds, OC Produce co-owner and former State Secretary of Agriculture A.G. Kawamura talked inspiringly about agricultural urbanism, “the idea that the permaculture of a society can include your foodshed, your watershed, and your energyshed—wound together, working together.”

I love the idea that the Great Park, which Kawamura calls “the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century,” is shaping up to be a center for testing such potentially influential and beneficial ideas.

The first tangible product of the Alegria-OC Produce alliance is vegetable delivery—for $40 you can order a box with more than 12 pounds of organic produce delivered within 24 hours of harvest—one time or as a weekly subscription. The list of cities to which they deliver is limited, though growing, and there’s a pickup point in Irvine for those outside the delivery sphere. Take a look at ordering details here.

Specific content is customizable. The box I tried was as supremely fresh as what I pick out myself at the farmers market—which was for me the main question, because I already knew that with OC Produce, the quality is so there. I don’t foresee giving up farmers market shopping, but I certainly will be watching for my canyon’s name to appear on that list…