At LifeSource, we love our farmers. They are one of the major reasons our produce department is so amazing. These farmers are dedicated, hard working, talented and continue to amaze me. Ronnie is one of these people. He runs Spectrum Light Organic Farms and provides us with all of our wheatgrass and microgreens. What is a microgreen? Simply put, microgreens are greens that are larger than sprouts and smaller than “baby” salad greens. They are delicious, varied in flavor, and pack a powerful nutritional punch.
Ronnie’s greenhouse is located about 400 feet from his house, which is located outside of Lebanon. This proximity is important because Ronnie works about 14 hours a day, 7 days per week. Ronnie is in his 5th year of sustainably growing and delivering fresh microgreens throughout Oregon.
Being sustainable is very important to Ronnie. He uses a 3 tier growing system based on a rotating cycle to continually grow wheatgrass, sunflower, pea, radish, and broccoli shoots within his 2,300 square foot greenhouse. It is an average of 7-14 days from seed to delivery of the microgreens. He uses organic soil, seed, water, and natural sunlight to grow his microgreens. These microgreens are never refrigerated— they are delivered directly from the greenhouse to the store. This allows him not only to cut down on energy consumption, but ensures the greens are delivered at peak freshness and nutrient density.
Wheatgrass is a complete food grown from sprouted wheat berries (the seed of the common wheat plant). Wheatgrass is harvested (and juiced) when the grass is at its nutritional peak and has high concentrations of vitamins, such as A, C and E; minerals including iron, calcium and magnesium; amino acids, antioxidents, enzymes, chlorophyll, and phytronutrients that are not found in the mature plant. Wheatgrass fans say that its rich nutrient content supports immune system function and assists the body’s natural digestive and detoxification processes.
Until recently, the other microgreens, including sunflower, pea, radish and broccoli shoots, have been viewed mostly as pretty garnishes for trendy foods. However, many studies in the last few years have shown that these nutrient packed greens have been greatly under-appreciated. The nutritional value of the concentrated nutrients stored in the seed increase dramatically d u r i n g germination. Studies have shown tha t nutrients can increase up to 400%. Microgreens are easy to digest because they are almost “pre-digested” by the sprouting process, which deactivates enzyme inhibitors, changing carbohydrates into simple sugars and proteins into free amino acids and peptides. These “pre-digested” foods are rich in active enzymes and help enhance the body’s own internal enzyme activity.
Microgreens are also amazingly tasty. All of the microgreens we carry at LifeSource have different attributes and flavors. Sunflower shoots add a fresh nutty flavor and texture to food. Delicious and delicate, radish shoots have a little spicy kick. Broccoli shoots have an even bigger spicy flavor, and are one of nature’s little “health heroes”. They contain many important nutrients as well as the micronutrient sulphoraphane.
The sky is the limit when it comes to incorporating fresh microgreens into your diet. You can eat them raw or cooked. However, eating them raw is the best way to keep their high nutritional value. Give microgreens a try, they are easy to use—just add to sandwiches, salads, wraps, stir frys, or eat them as a snack. You can even juice them for an energy packed addition to “green drinks.” To prepare microgreens for eating, you simply cut off the amount you want. Lightly rinse with water and gently pat dry. Most importantly, ENJOY!! It would be hard not to.
Recipe: Pea Shoot Pesto
- 2 cups pea shoots
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1 cup walnuts or pine nuts
- salt to taste
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
Photo by: ilovemypit