2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3, Page #09[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Dried Salad Flakes Packed With Nutrients
Extremely high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, Salad Flakes have one appealing characteristic to fussy eaters — there is no taste. A pinch of dried greens is equal to eating a handful of fresh greens, so it appeals to health-minded adults as well.
Machado was inspired to build a dehydrator after a customer bought fresh greens for a month-long camping trip. The customer said he planned to dehydrate them, an idea that intrigued Machado who always has more greens growing than he can sell fresh.
Since there weren’t any dehydrators on the market large enough to handle large quantities, Machado researched and built his own, with advice from a friend in the geothermal business.
The closet-size unit has perforated tray shelves, a fan, and a heater set at 105 F.
“It has to go from wet to dry evenly so it doesn’t mold in between. The door seals like a refrigerator so the fan pulls the air out evenly at 25 psi,” Machado explains.
From the 15 lbs. of green salad that he puts in the dehydrator for 3 days (using less than 50 cents of electricity), he gets 1.2 lbs. of dried material. He removes the fibrous stems (ribs of kale, for example) and crumbles up the rest before storing it in tightly sealed containers, then vacuum sealing it to sell.
Machado makes the flakes year round (60 lbs. annually) and sells them for $16/oz. ($42 for 3 oz. bag), which is equivalent to the $16/lb. cost he charges for fresh greens.
He uses a mixture of excess greens growing in his fields: kale, broccoli leaves, spinach, cabbage, amaranth, quinoa, chard, wild chicories, mustards, wheat and oat grasses to name a few. In season, he might also throw in lambs quarter and dandelions. All ingredients are listed on the salad flake package.
Machado figured he had a good thing going with the flakes as he ate them himself and sprinkled them on the food he prepared for his wife and children — who grew up very healthy. In 1999, official nutrient testing of the flakes verified they contained 490 ORAC units per gram, short for Oxidative Radical Absorbance Capacity, the ability of a particular food to clean up free radicals in the body, much like an antioxidant. Machado suggests sprinkling a pinch of the flakes on food — up to 6 pinches a day.
He encourages others to dry their own greens as well and will offer advice on how to build a large dehydrator like the one he built.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Machado Farms, Rick Machado, P.O. Box 655, Sun City, Calif. 92586 (ph 951 764-3492; www.machadofarms.com; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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