A Look at Growing Microgreens
SEE how microgreens transform from dormant seeds to the living plants decorating your plate with a closer look at our home growing system
After a successful launch in January, and heartwarming feedback from our members (featuring awesome creations from CSA Food Fest), we are really excited to open up the next round of sign ups for our La Garniture microgreen CSA.
We are still humbled by the support we have received, and grateful for the relationships we have been able to form with members of our community through our shares. The relationship between farmer and consumer that the CSA model creates was one of our biggest "Why?"s when deciding to provide the option at our farm. Although we knew many are familiar with traditional CSA's, we were unsure if the microgreens would be enough on their own.
Luckily, our knowledgeable and adventurous consumers were willing to take a chance and share our love of the nutritious and delicious microcrops that have been a big part of our urban farming journey. To know that others want to invest in our mission to grow hyperlocal produce, and understand the special place microgreens can hold in urban agriculture, has been inspiring us to work even harder to grow and connect with our community.
In addition to our usual greens, we have been experimenting with dandelion greens, spinach, micro lettuce, and buckwheat as well as micro herbs including parsley, sage, thyme, chervil. We even are working on bringing some micro root crops to the table, such as carrots and beets. Micro flowers, like marigolds, have been a fun specialty crop to learn how to grow. These experiments are a taste of the kind of unique and intensive growing we are committed to as urban farmers. As we take more special orders and are inspired by chefs, there are even more varieties of microcrops to tap into that will become part of the CSA and market rotations. With community support and interest in the relationships between agriculture, diet, and environment, we feel we have tapped into a hive of creativity that we can learn from and contribute to.
To celebrate those relationships, we wanted to give current and prospective microgreen lovers a behind the scene look into how we produce and process our produce organically at the Coeur et Sol homestead every week. One of our long term goals is to offer open houses at our growing operations in the future, so we thought a virtual tour could work as a window into where your greens come from for now. Our good friend and community partner, Tobias Fox of Newark Science and Sustainability, stopped by recently to help us document how our seeds bloom into the living microgreens you enjoy at home.
Our growing process starts by distributing the seeds over 1.5” to 2.5” of soil equally in individual corrugated flats. Once the seeds are sown evenly over the soil, each tray is then gently and evenly watered. After they are moistened, the first stop for the seeds is our "Germination Station", designed and handmade by my crafty husband, Chaz. There, in complete darkness and with high humidity, the seeds will start to sprout their first leaves, or catyledons. A few days later they are ready to go under our lighting system.
Germinated flats stay under red and blue LED lights on our "Microgreen Machine", another awesome creation by Chaz. Under the lights the microgreens undergo photosynthesis and mature, a process taking anywhere from 1-4 weeks depending on the seedling! Multiple shelves and lighting units allow us to grow every flat consistently with enough room for unexpected failed crops, extra orders, and endless experiments.
With controlled lighting, temperature, and moisture, most microgreens are ready to harvest easily. Shoots can be enjoyed straight off the plant, or cut with shears above the root and stored in the fridge. We package them in 5"x7" living flats or precut in BottleBox clam shells for our CSA members. They can live in their containers for up to two weeks by following the provided care instructions. Some varieties are even "cut and come again". Every microgreen is unique! Pictured below is our signature mix, the mustards in this blend give it a mild and pleasant spice.
And that's how we bring our micros from our home to your table. We have added more share options for CSA members - all still organically grown in soil and hand delivered to your door. Each share includes nutritional info, handmade recipe cards, care instructions, and other surprises along the way. With fresh microgreens and share options, we feel more motivated than ever to perfecting our product.
Now, in addition to the regular eight week share, we will be offering two and four week options for those interested in giving our microgreens a try without the two month commitment. Prices start at $19 for our two week single shares, orders can be placed here. If you have any questions, or want to learn more about microgreens, you can always get in touch. We always have time to talk about farming, gardening, and definitely food.
We are grateful for the momentum your support has given us so far and hope to see you on our local deliveries, at our next volunteer day (TBA), and enjoying the farm this Spring!