Produce Grower: How did this collaboration come together?
Viraj Puri: Gotham Greens Chief Greenhouse Officer Jenn Frymark and I are huge fans of the Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead champions a sense of community that has been inspirational to our values at Gotham Greens. Since launching Gotham Greens over a decade ago, we have worked to build a community-minded ecosystem — not only by fostering camaraderie among our employees across our national network of greenhouses, but also through the partnerships within the neighborhoods we operate and the greenhouse designs that respect our relationship with the planet.
PG: Was trying to collaborate with a band or public figure always something Gotham was interested in? What is the benefit of doing it?
VP: Gotham Greens has always been committed to showing up for our customers in ways that make them feel excited about eating their greens. Our marketing collaboration with the Grateful Dead to bring Grateful Greens gourmet medley lettuce to market is a natural extension of our mission. It is all about partnering with people and brands that truly inspire us and align with our company’s core values.
PG: In the immediate release, what kind of response have you guys seen, particularly on social media or other digital platforms?
VP: The response has been truly amazing so far. Our customers have been so excited to see this collaboration launch on shelves and consumers are eager to find Grateful Greens in their local grocery stores. Stephen Colbert even featured Grateful Greens on his late-night talk show and posted a video on Instagram, which is pretty surreal.
PG: Are there plans to do more collaborations in the future?
VP: Absolutely, stay tuned!
PG: How did the greenhouse art come to be? What does it take to plan that, organize it, etc.?
VP: Our growing team is not just made up of the most talented plant scientists and experts in the agriculture industry, but they are also creative and find ways to incorporate relevant cultural moments within the greenhouse itself. Gotham Greens’ growers spent several weeks mapping out lettuce art designs inspired by the Grateful Dead and meticulously placing different varieties of Gotham Greens leafy greens with unique colors and textures in patterns to bring our partnership to life. Once the designs were complete, the growers translated them into the production schedule. The designs took form within a single harvest, about a month after the initial seeds were planted. And the results are these beautiful lettuce art canvases that are as much fun for our greenhouse teams to create as they are for the rest of consumers to enjoy.