After spending almost an entire week in Las Vegas earlier this month for CES, I reluctantly returned to the desert on Monday for the Kitchen and Bath Show.
And just like I did at the big consumer tech show, I found an oasis inside the convention center in the form of an indoor gardening system. Only this time the leafy greens were not featured as part of a proof-of-concept from the likes of GE, LG or Samsung, but instead inside of a product already on the market from a scrappy startup out of Estonia.
The company is Natufia Labs, a venture backed startup, and the product is the Natufia Kitchen Garden, a $13 thousand home garden that has been shipping in Europe for a year and has just landed in the U.S.
I stopped by Natufia’s booth at KBIS where the company’s CEO Gregory Lu gave me a quick video tour of the Kitchen Garden. As you can see in the video, the product is a self-contained cabinet that creates an optimal recipe of water, lighting and nutrients to help grow, according to Lu, enough output to product “one to two salads per day.”
Water and nutrients are dispensed automatically through the central monitoring system that is controlled via a touchscreen display in the bottom cabinet. Alongside the control system in the lower cabinet is a seedling chamber where the user puts seeds for 10 days in a small seedpod unit to allow them to germinate. From there, the seedlings are transferred into one of the ceramic looking pots in the upper glass chamber where they will grow and eventually be harvested.
Like the Samsung BeSpoke system, I liked the look and idea of a fully contained standup cabinet gardening system with the Natufia. It looked good and I could envision this type of garden system finding a home within my kitchen some day.
However, I have to admit the $13,000 price tag gave me pause. I wondered if I’d be willing to pay that much to add a home grow system, particularly one that — like most of these systems — is largely restricted to growing leafy greens and for the most part does not produce non-leafy green vegetables like cucumbers or ground vegetables like potatoes or onions.
In the end, these types of systems are a lifestyle and design choice that will be made by the home owner. If you’re buying a new house or committing $80,000 or more to a kitchen remodel, adding in one of these systems makes sense if you love the idea of shortening the distance between farm and fork to just a few meters, even if it’s for only a partial list of the items that go in your salad.
There’s also no doubt that these systems make a visual statement, standing out from the usual wall of metal or wood typically found in high-end kitchens.
The Natufia Kitchen Garden is available in the U.S. through select resellers. You can see the guided tour of the Natufia Kitchen Garden below in the video.