John Rivera Sedlar’s restaurant, Playa, has a secret — and it’s right over your head. You may wonder where the restaurant gets its gorgeous produce. The fact is, much of it is now grown in their innovative rooftop garden, which they lovingly call “Cielo Verde.”
Sedlar has long dreamed of owning a ranch like the ones his uncles and grandparents owned in Santa Fe, New Mexico. But this is not your grandparents’ garden. It’s all about aeroponic agriculture. There is no dirt, which solves a lot of common problems; it means no snails or most other garden pests. The restaurant purchased 35 compact, drip-irrigated towers, which were installed in March.
It has been difficult finding some of the Mexican seeds, but the garden has flourished with dozens and dozens of plant varieties. In mid-April the first harvest brought micro-herbs, quickly followed by greens such as wild arugala and black kale.
Chef John Rivera Sedlar has been a pioneer in many culinary endeavors, and he continues to pioneer. As he puts it so well, the menu at Playa is being shaped by the garden, from mixology to appetizers to desserts, creating a new rooftop-to-table cuisine.