If you have been in the gym lately, you may have noticed the fridge has a lot more "green" in it lately. Cilantro, parsley, basil and thyme have been popular herbs, and from time to time you will find some beautiful romaine lettuce and some wonderful mixed greens consisting of pak choi, collards and mustard greens. These are all grown on site and harvested by Coach Nancy and I. You won't find fresher anywhere!
Last year was the biggest garden we have had in a while, and we plan on expanding it again this year into a small market garden. One of the downsides of living here in New Hampshire (and there aren't many) is the short growing season. While you can get amazing fresh produce in the summer, in the winter that's not so easy, and most of the produce at the local grocer has been "grown and flown" as it were, coming from a long ways away. We really wanted to keep growing all year round, which is why I built our "basement garden". By growing hydroponically we are able to avoid pesticides and avoid soil born disease. It's a fun way to grow, and the veggies are delicious.
Since May I have been working on a project that's come to be known as "Papa Dean's Microgreens" (Papa D is what my grandkids call me). I have absolutely fallen in love with growing these little bundles of nutrition. They are fun to grow, and they are SOOOO good.
Since Microgreens aren't as well known or popular in this part of the country, I thought I'd share a little bit about them and why you should add them to your diet.
What Exactly is a Microgreen, Anyway?
Microgreens are young vegetable greens that have been harvested before they mature. In our garden, depending on the type, we typically harvest between 9 and 16 after planting.
At harvest the plant is typically between 2-4 inches tall, with a rich flavor and potentially more concentrated nutrient profile. All the vitamins and minerals are packed in there, just like you would find in a more mature plant.
Microgreens are not to be confused with a sprout. Microgreens are harvested after the Cotyledon stage, when the first true leaves emerge. The stems and leaves are edible, like a baby green, but in a much smaller size.
My favorite microgreens come from the Brassicaceae family, such as Broccoli, Red Russian Kale, Purple Triton Radish, and Red Acre Cabbage. Mustard has a mild flavor you won't want to miss. Sunflower and Green Pea grow larger stems and are absolutely delicious.
Delicious AND Nutritious
There have been many studies on the nutritional benefits of microgreens. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
We've talked about the health benefits of eating vegetables many times around here. They can reduce the risk of Heart Disease, Alzheimer's, Diabetes and even certain cancers.
You KNOW these things, and yet you probably still don't eat the recommended amount daily.
My dirty little secret? I didn't either, at least not before Microgreens came into my life.
I can honestly say I do not remember one day in the last 5 or 6 months I haven't eaten microgreens. Nancy and I start almost every dinner with a salad built on a foundation of our favorites. You will never go back to iceberg lettuce once you have tasted a Microgreen Salad Mix made up of Purple Triton Radish, Mustard, and Broccoli, with maybe a few sunflower micros to add an amazing crunch.
And salads aren't the only thing you can do with them. On top of your sandwich, in your favorite wrap, or even in your protein shake or smoothie. Most people know microgreens as a garnish, and you can use them for that too!
Try Them Today!
Right now we are growing the following microgreens:
- Red Russian Kale
- Purple Triton Radish
- Green Pea
We also have two mixes, the Sunny Sampler, which consists of Sunflower, Broccoli, Radish and Kale, and the Spicy Mix, which is made up of Broccoli, Kale, and Radish. Both are absolutely delicious with your favorite salad dressing.
We are currently packaging in 2 oz. and 4 oz. containers, as well as larger 12 oz. bags. The price is the same across the board, at $1.00 per oz.
We would love for you to try some of Papa Dean's Microgreens out for yourself and let us know what you think. We think you'll love them!
Make It Happen!
Papa D 🙂