(Nov. 6) MONTEREY, Calif. — Epic Roots LLC, a 3-year-old company, is taking a different approach to a different product.

After growing trials in different areas and with different methods, Epic Roots now harvests mâche — a green popular with Europeans — year-round in the Salinas Valley and is looking at other areas to grow it.

Partners Todd Koons and David Chelf think Americans too will fall for mâche, a tender, succulent green with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor.

Though some companies have found success growing mâche hydroponically, Epic Roots has worked with growers to develop a way to grow it efficiently in the ground. Because the company harvests the leaves when they are young, tender and small, it is critical to protect them from the weather. A mesh covering over the rows proves helpful.

“Anybody who has tried it loves it,” Chelf said. “We just have to overcome the newness element to it.”

Koons helped introduce packaged specialty salads in the late 1980s. He oversaw the introduction of TKO Farms spring mix, which he said was the first of its kind to reach the market. Later, he was special projects manager for Misionero Vegetables.

Koons said the mâche rosette makes for an attractive display as well as a tasty salad. Foodservice establishments, particularly white-tablecloth restaurants, are beginning to embrace the product, although it’s getting attention at retail as well, he said.

Major markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Houston, Miami and Dallas are leading the way in embracing mache, Koons said.

“What spring mix is to iceberg, mâche is to spring mix,” Koons said. “It’s elegant, it’s aesthetic, and it’s getting more popular.”

The company is touting its health benefits as a sales inducer as well. Mâche has iron and the antioxidant lutein as well as folic acid, potassium and vitamin C.