Hydroponic Produce: The Eco-Friendly Answer to Modern Agriculture

Hydroponic farming is a modernized, energy-efficient way to farm produce. It takes less time to produce high-quality crops. But questions about taste remain. Many wonder: Does hydroponic produce taste as fresh and delicious as soil-grown crops?

There is a stigma about hydroponic crops having little flavor, but this is no longer true. Hydroponic produce grown in a local hydroponic vertical farm tastes better — and is safer — than food farmed conventionally. It all comes down to how hydroponic farming works.

Why Do People Love Hydroponic Produce?

Vertically farmed hydroponic produce is fresher and more delicious than traditional crops. But not only is hydroponic produce fresher and tastes better, it’s better for the environment, too. The environmental impact of traditional farming is concerning. Conventional agricultural practices contribute to deforestation, water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil degradation.

The Green Quotient: Environmental Impact of Hydroponics 

There are many benefits of hydroponics. Hydroponic farms reduce the environmental impacts of traditional farming. They do this by replacing soil with water. Hydroponic farms use water Instead of soil to provide nutrients to crops. Because hydroponic agriculture doesn't need fertile ground, it's ideal for indoor use or on rooftops, patios, or other open spaces. Here’s what you need to know about hydroponics vs. traditional farming.

Water Conservation 

Hydroponic farming saves 70-80% more water than traditional soil-based farming. Traditional crops receive nutrients from the soil, but hydroponic crops receive nutrients from water. The water is continuously recycled and delivered to the root system instead of sprayed over the entire plant and potentially lost to evaporation or runoff. 

Land Conservation 

Because hydroponic farms don't use soil, they don't need land. This results in less land erosion, reduces the amount of pesticides in use, and makes land available for other purposes.

Pesticide Free 

Hydroponic crops don't grow in soil and are often protected inside controlled environment agriculture (CEA) facilities. This means pests have less access to hydroponic plants, so growers don't need to rely on dangerous pesticides. 

Carbon Footprint 

Hydroponic farms use less land, water, and pesticides than traditional farming. They also reduce their carbon footprint by keeping things local. Hydroponic crops are fresher and better tasting than conventional farming. Crops grown hydroponically can be in continuous production regardless of the season. Continuous local crop production helps reduce the carbon footprint used in shipping. 

Aspect Hydroponic Farming Traditional Farming
Water Conservation Conserves 70-80% more water. Water is recycled and directly delivered to the roots, minimizing evaporation or runoff. Uses more water. Water is often sprayed over the entire plant, leading to potential loss due to evaporation or runoff.
Land Conservation Doesn't use soil, preventing land erosion and freeing up land for other uses. Requires fertile land, potentially leading to land erosion and limiting land for other purposes.
Pesticide Use Often grown in controlled environments, reducing exposure to pests and eliminating the need for harmful pesticides. Exposed to outdoor pests, often requiring the use of pesticides to protect crops.
Carbon Footprint Uses fewer resources and promotes local production, reducing carbon footprint, especially in transportation. May have a higher carbon footprint due to the need for transportation, especially for non-local or out-of-season crops.

The Ultimate Showdown: Seasonal vs. Hydroponics 

Hydroponic farms use less land, water, and pesticides than seasonal crops. Hydroponic farms also produce higher yields than their typical counterparts. But how do hydroponic crops measure up to seasonal conventionally grown crops? Let's take a look.

Nutritional Value 

The growing conditions on hydroponic farms are under precise control. Hydroponic growers can add or decrease nutrients to affect crop taste and nutrition. For this reason, the produce from hydroponic farms usually has a more consistent nutritional profile than soil-grown crops. The nutritional profile of soil-grown crops depends on the nutrients in the soil where they're growing and can change depending on the weather. And, because hydroponic crops are grown using carefully designed nutrient-rich solutions, they often have a better nutritional profile than soil-grown crops. 

Taste Profiles 

Soil-grown crops get exposed to various minerals and vitamins in the land where they're grown, which some people argue makes soil-grown produce taste better. The taste of hydroponic crops can differ from soil-grown crops. Exposure to the sun, nutrients used, and water quality can influence taste. Hydroponic farmers can also alter the taste of their produce by increasing or decreasing the nutrients they use.

Because indoor hydroponic plants grow in a customized climate, they have the appropriate conditions to taste their best. Hydroponic farmers can customize these plants even further. Many factors influence a plant’s flavor, such as sun exposure, temperature, and nutrients consumed in the growing process. These factors can be manipulated in a controlled environment, leading to greater yields and tastier crops.

Shelf Life 

Depending on the type of produce, the shelf life can vary widely, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Storage times can range from a few days to a few weeks, and most produce requires refrigeration. 

A head of traditional lettuce can last between 7 to 10 days if stored properly. Compare that to a head of hydroponic romaine lettuce, which can last a few weeks if stored properly. 

Because hydroponic romaine lettuce uses fewer pesticides and other chemicals, it has its best flavor if consumed within a few days of harvesting. 

The Hydroponic Cornucopia: Produce Variety 

Hydroponic farming is very versatile. A variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs can be grown hydroponically. Here's a sample of what you can grow hydroponically. 


  • Basil

  • Fennel

  • Peppermint

  • Lavender

  • Rosemary

  • Thyme

Fruits & Vegetables 

  • Strawberries

  • Tomatoes

  • Peppers

  • Snap Peas

  • Celery

  • Cucumbers

Lettuce & Salad Greens

  • Spring Mixes

Cooking Greens

  • Turnip Greens

  • Swiss Chard

  • Beet Greens

Asian Greens 

  • Bok choy

  • Choy sum

  • Chinese mustard greens (gai choy) 

  • Gai lan (Chinese broccoli)

  • Napa cabbage 

  • Water spinach (ong choy)

  • Chrysanthemum leaves

  • Lotus root

  • Mung bean sprouts

  • Snow pea shoots (dau miu)

The Basics of Hydroponic Farming 

Basic hydroponic farming is relatively simple. It requires a growing medium, a water source, and a way to deliver water and nutrients to the crops. There are a variety of hydroponic systems to choose from.

Growing mediums for hydroponic farming include perlite, rock wool, or coco coir. There are several water delivery systems to choose from, including drip systems, ebb and flow, and nutrient film technique (NFT). Drip systems deliver a steady stream of water and nutrients to crops. Ebb and flow systems fill the crop's tray with water and nutrients, then drain it away. NFT systems constantly run a shallow stream of nutrient-enriched water past plant roots.

Hydroponic Produce Can Address A Local Need 

Hydroponic produce can address a local need for fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables in areas with food desserts. Because hydroponic produce is grown locally, it's fresher and more affordable than other produce. 

The Hydroponic Horizon: Future of Hydroponics 

Hydroponic farming is the future of farming. Their high yield potential, positive environmental impacts, and improved nutrient profile make hydroponic crops more sustainable than traditional crops.

The landscape of hydroponic technology is evolving. The use of LED lights and vertical farming has made an impact on hydroponic farming. Here's what else to watch for:

  • AI or machine learning: AI or machine learning technologies could monitor growing conditions and crop yield, resulting in better and more crops. They can also monitor disease outbreaks or pest infestations. 

  • Renewable energy: Hydroponic farming already benefits the environment, but renewable energy sources like sun and wind could power hydroponic farms in the future.

Demystifying Hydroponics: FAQs 

What is Hydroponic Farming? 

Hydroponic farming is a growing method that uses water in place of soil. Plants are rooted in a growing medium like perlite, and water and nutrients are delivered directly to the plant's root system. Hydroponic farming uses less water and land than traditional farming.

Is Hydroponic Produce Organic? 

Organic is a produce label certification, meaning crops follow specific rules laid forth by the USDA. Because these rules include soil use specifications, hydroponic produce cannot be labeled organic. 

How Does Hydroponic Farming Save Water? 

You might think that hydroponic farming uses more water because the crops are grown in water. But that's not the case. Depending on the system used, hydroponic farming uses up to 98% less water than traditional farming. 

When you water traditional crops, the water goes into the ground, where most of it is lost. The water used to grow hydroponic crops is on a closed-loop system. Once the plant takes what it needs from the water, whatever is left is cycled back into the system to be reused. 

What Types of Produce Can Be Grown Hydroponically? 

Much of the focus on hydroponic farming has been on leafy greens like hydroponic romaine lettuce and spinach. Fresh herbs and microgreens also work well in this environment. Mint, lavender, basil, oregano, rosemary, and cilantro can thrive. Eden Green Technology is even experimenting with fruits and other vegetables such as strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, snap peas, celery, and cucumbers.

How Does Hydroponic Produce Taste Compared to Soil-Grown? 

Hydroponic produce can actually taste better than conventionally grown produce because farmers have better control over the growing environment. They can influence flavor by adding or decreasing a crop’s nutrients or adjusting light levels.

Hydroponic produce also tastes better than other crops because it's fresher. It's grown locally and doesn't have to be shipped long distances, which can negatively affect quality. Because a hydroponic vertical farming system allows for a short 48 hours from farm to table, the produce reaches your plate in its freshest condition. 

Is Hydroponic Farming Sustainable? 

The world has been searching for a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to produce healthy food. Hydroponic farming may be the answer thanks to its ability to use less resources and space than traditional growing methods. 

But is it sustainable? When the hydroponic system is appropriately designed and managed, the answer is yes. Hydroponic farms can maximize production and nutritional content by using fewer natural resources to grow more crops.

How Does Hydroponic Produce Affect Local Communities? 

There’s a great need for local produce, especially in food deserts where fresh foods are hard to find. Agricultural production in rural areas doesn’t produce the variety of crops consumers demand. Further, crop freshness is impacted by the time they make it to the grocery store.

Urban areas lack  the space to accommodate traditional commercial-scale agriculture. In large cities, almost all the food comes from distant farms. Shipping produce long distances wastes resources, contributes to carbon emissions, and means most of your food is nowhere near as fresh as you’d hope.

Experts estimate that urban areas will account for 80% of food consumption by 2050. As more consumers become educated about the food chain, we expect more demand for locally-grown food as soon as 2025. Vertical farms can fit into urban landscapes and meet the community’s needs.

Growing with Eden Green Technology 

Hydroponic farming is sustainable, good for the environment, can impact communities, and has a better taste and nutrition profile than soil-grown crops. You're probably wondering how to start offering fresh hydroponic produce to your customers. 

Eden Green is the only hydroponic commercial farm that enables you to white-label various locally-grown produce. You will get delicious, fresh produce priced for value to keep your customers returning.

Plus, because it's grown hydroponically, you won't have to worry about food recalls or disease outbreaks affecting your produce supply. Eden Green’s sustainability mission aims to revolutionize traditional agriculture.

Partnering with Eden Green for your hydroponic produce gives you:

  • A consistent supply of harvests with 10x the amount of traditionally grown crops. 

  • The freshest produce: Usually 48 hours from farm to shelf

  • The ability to source several SKUs from one supplier

Ready to offer your customers the best hydroponic produce?


Greenhouse Gurus Episode 3


Eden Green Accelerates Growth to Meet Rising Market Demand