Most people have heard of microgreens by now. They are the small cotyledon shoots from vegetable, herb, and even flower seeds that are usually harvested before their true leaves form – though some growers allow the true leaves to emerge for a fuller green, but with less potency. in flavor and nutrition. Microgreens typically have five times more nutritional value by weight than mature greens, and, as anyone that’s tasted one or two tiny microgreens can attest, they have equally intense flavor. At Turner Family Farms, we grow arugula, broccoli, radishes, kohlrabi, wasabi, chard, basil, collards, amaranth, mustards, beets, salad burnet, and more. Above is a picture of a nice mix from our favorite seed provider, Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
Our own Jessicca Allison has created several ingenious microgreens mixes including one each for salads, soups, and my personal favorite, as a lettuce substitute in sandwiches. She is also working with our CSA members to develop smoothie recipes that include our vegetables and microgreens. There’s no better way to get that nutritional boost.
There is more to creating these mixes than meets the eye as there are tricks to maximizing the health benefits of consuming them. A majority of these microgreens are in the Brassica family (Cruciferae) such as cabbage, broccoli, watercress, kale, mustards, brussel sprouts. All brassicas are packed with anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer agents like sulpfurophane. One of the best ways to maximize absorption of these agents is to combine brassicas like broccoli with mustards such as wasabi. This is why Jessicca combines the two as the base to many of her mixes – pictured below in the Turner Family Farms greens unit at our River Bluffs location.
There is an absolutely fascinating woman named Dr. Rhonda Patrick who explains the science behind Brassica health benefits WAY better than I ever could. She is a Ph.D. in biomedical science from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and a B.S. in biochemistry/chemistry from UC, San Diego. Her website, Found My Fitness, is dedicated to all things nutritional health, and, her youtube videos are mesmerizing. When I listen to her, I feel like I’m in class with the most intelligent and enthusiastic of professors, so, no matter how dense the science is, I just find it fascinating and I come away actually understanding at least some of it. Here’s an introduction, but you can also find her on the Joe Rogan podcast and others. A quick warning. Joe Rogan’s podcast is one of the best, but he is R-rated at times.
So, the moral of the story is that you really should eat your vegetables, and in particular, your broccoli (and other brassicas.) One way to boost your consumption is through power packed microgreens. We include Jessicca’s microgreens in almost all of our CSA boxes, and, we nearly always have kales, broccoli, mustards, and other cruciferous vegetables in the box as well. Join our CSA for good health, and/or visit us at the River Bluffs Farm Market, the Wilmington Farmer’s Market at Tidal Creek, and the Farmer’s Market at Poplar Grove. The first two are open year ’round, and Poplar Grove opens April 17th. Here’s a brief description of each. Below are a couple of pics sent in by two of our awesome CSA members featuring our microgreens.