Superfood grown on upstate farm makes its way to New York City streets

Friday, June 30, 2017
Superfood found in NYC comes from upstate farm
Amy Freeze took a trip to an upstate farm that produces nearly all the wheat grass sold in Manhattan.

GOSHEN, New York (WABC) -- If you're looking for an easy shortcut for your diet, a shot of wheat grass juice could do the trick.

While the liquid superfood might be easy to find at smoothie bars, you might be surprised to learn nearly all of the wheat grass sold in Manhattan is grown about an hour to the north.

The black dirt region of Orange County is a fertile backdrop for crops, surprisingly just over an hour from New York City, but the farming happening here is like nothing you have ever seen.

"No doubt about it, fresh wheat grass is the cornerstone of the health food industry, always has been," said the king of wheat grass and owner of Perfect Foods, Harley Matsil.

Once a merchant seaman, he's the one growing 90 percent of greens shots sold in juice bars in New York. He's spent three decades on a labor he calls both a science and an art.

The self-made field of dreams involves a system of uniformity. It begins with nutrient rich compost with perfect ph, ideal bacteria, and precise care.

Soaked in a secret process, sprouts appear in just hours.

"The temperature control is very important," said Harley. "You can see that they have a little shoot coming out and three little roots."

The plant grabs at as many as 100 nutrients, making it a superfood.

"It's cliché but true, we're using the perfect soil and the perfect seeds to make the perfect grass," said Harley.

They sell thousands of trays across New York City, You can even have them delivered to your own front door.

The entire family is a part of the business, seeing dad as a pioneer in a now organic, vegan, sustainable food world.

"We are definitely the largest wheat grass grower in New York, maybe largest indoor in the world even," said general manager Aaron Matsil.

And the way to juice is poured all over the Tri-State with juice bar demonstrations by Harley's daughter Rebecca Matsil.

"The best way to have wheat grass is to have it everyday," she said. "A full ounce is equivalent to two pounds of vegetables."

In a city where veggies are flown, shipped and trucked in, ironically, a perfect food is being grown in our own backyard.

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