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Let's get an understanding of what microgreens are in the first place.
Microgreens are essentially baby plants that you can eat!!!
We grow these vegetables super densely (they will not grow to full maturity, there's no room) and only to the height of about 2" and have their first leaf. In these 2", the nutrient value of the vegetable is up to 40 times more than what is in their mature plant.
Well, imagine a tiny little seed and how it grows. The seed contains all the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, amino acids, etc. to feed the growth of the plant until it gains its leaves. So as the roots bury down and the seed sprouts up, its using this massive powerhouse of nutrients to start its life.
It is such a significant life force that is captured in these 2 inches that make microgreens a super food.
This super food is so super that eating a hand full of microgreens, broccoli for example, is equivalent to eating a whole head of that same broccoli.
Try getting your kids to eat a whole head of broccoli!!! But baby plants, they love the things!!!
Kids will eat a hand full of microgreens very easily. They're pretty, interesting, and small enough they don't feel intimidated by them.
So what do I do with them Sam I am?
You can eat them with a goat, you can eat them on a boat!!!
You can eat them with anything!
The reason why...
They each have their own flavor to them. So broccoli will taste different than clover. Radish have a distinct radish flavor and arugula is very peppery. They contain the same flavors as their mature plants but more intense so a little goes a long way!
So why are some microgreens "living?" Are others "dead?"
Some farms grow microgreens, harvest the greens themselves, then package them, then sell them to the customer.
LIVING microgreens are sold to the customer ALIVE.
They are NOT harvested before the sale and the customer takes them home to harvest them as they need them.
Why is this significant?
Surely you have heard that the longer a vegetable is off the vine the less flavor it has and the less nutrients. That vegetable was alive at one point and, now harvested, is slowly dying. The same thing goes for microgreens. Though with microgreens, they do not "last" as long as some vegetables after being harvested, maybe 5 days. With a living product you're looking at a freshness of 10 days and if properly taken care, maybe even longer! Now you're doubling or even tripling the freshness without loosing all the flavor and nutrients that happens with harvest.
When you cut out (no pun intended) the harvesting step by the farmer and the consumer harvests them as they need them, you are getting a super fresh, can't get any fresher than this, product that intensifies the flavor and nutrients even more!
Essentially the consumer is harvesting their own vegetables AND they LOVE it!!
For the farmer, growing microgreens is incredibly efficient. The conditions, requirements, and date to maturity are so minimal that growing microgreens requires little to almost no effort or space. They are grown in trays and mostly on vertical shelves with an artificial light source. There is no open area ground space required.
Because of this and because of the way big ag is taring up all the usable farm land, microgreen farming is the next major evolution of farming.
There are microgreens farms popping up everywhere, middle of New York City for example where there is NO usable land anywhere in sight. People are farming in basements and roof tops. They're bringing the freshest produce possible to a population who really has no access to locally sourced food.
Though easy to grow and easy to find usable space, microgreens do have their fair share of technical problems as what you would find on a "regular" farm. There are germination issues, temperature issues, fungus and molds, just as you would find on a farm with land. So a microgreens farmer, urban as he or she may be, is still a farmer and still goes through all the trials, tribulations, ups and downs that a field farmer goes through.
They just might be a little warmer, not as dirty, and (maybe) better dressed!
Make sure to check out my next post about what to do with these microgreens. Wear them? Play with them? Eat them? How exactly do you use them!!??
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