Valley Bounty: Microgreens

Although it is finally starting to feel like spring, we’re still a little ways out from the real beginning of the harvest season for local farms. I’m prone to getting a bit impatient when it’s warm enough outside to go for a swim but I still can’t buy a tomato or a quart of strawberries. Fortunately, many local farms are widening the window in which they can supply us with fresh veggies, and microgreens are an increasingly popular offering among the off-peak options for fresh local greens.

Microgreens, as you could probably gather from the name, are recognizable vegetables like cabbage, spinach, radishes, herbs, chard, and all manner of salad greens (just to name a few), harvested at a much younger and more bite-sized stage of development than usual. On the vegetable aging timeline, they fall between sprouts and “baby greens.” A 2014 study by the USDA found that, “microgreens contained considerably higher levels of vitamins and carotenoids—about five times greater—than their mature plant counterparts.” Because of their relatively delicate nature and short shelf life, they’re best served fresh and raw. Try a handful of microgreens on a salad, sandwich, as a garnish on grilled meat, or sprinkled on top of a pizza (after it’s done cooking, of course).

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)