How The Chef’s Garden Started Growing Microgreens
The Chef’s Garden became a pioneer of growing microgreens in the mid-1990s when Chef Charlie Trotter came to us and said he was tired of mesclun as a blend; he wanted something different to put on his plates. That simple request was the “seed” that started our passion for microgreens. We now grow at least fifty different varieties of microgreens for the best chefs around the world as well as our passionate home cooks. Although you may see microgreens used in salads on occasion, they are most often used as an element of a dish in restaurants because they add distinct flavor elements, beauty, freshness, and dimension.
Microgreens are harvested only seven to forty days after the seed has been planted as tiny plants that are usually less than 1 ½ inches tall. When harvested, the young plants are cut just above the soil line. The plant will often contain two fully developed cotyledon leaves and one pair of partially developed true leaves.
At The Chef’s Garden, our incredible attention to detail and quality as we grow microgreens and other crops is demonstrated by our attention to the soil, which our soil team changes throughout the year. We actually have six different soils that we use, according to the time of year and growing conditions, to produce the highest quality and most nutrient-dense microgreens possible.
How Are Sprouts Different from Microgreens?
At The Chef’s Garden, we do not grow sprouts, only microgreens, but we often hear confusion between the two terms. Sprouts are seeds that are grown in water, but they never touch the soil; this is unlike microgreens, which are grown in soil trays inside a greenhouse.
The warm, damp conditions connected to the process of sprouting allow the seeds to germinate within a few days but pose the risk of food-borne illness due to bacteria and fungi appreciating the same growing conditions. Sprouts are typically consumed before any leaves have formed; only leaf buds may be visible along with roots and stems.
More About the Health Benefits of Microgreens
Generally speaking, harvesting plants at the microgreen stage results in higher levels of vitamins (C, folate, thiamin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, niacin, and so forth).
Microgreens also have increased availability for and absorption of minerals like iron and calcium due to their lower levels of “anti-nutrients” (which bind up minerals) like phytate, oxalate, and tannins.
Microgreens also provide small amounts of protein that are more easily digested.
We offer multiple curated blends of microgreens to help support health.
Antioxidant Signature Blend
This Antioxidant Signature Blend contain brassica microgreens that are a great source of vitamins (A, folate, C, E, K), minerals (iron, potassium, calcium), phytonutrients (carotenoids, glucosinolates (I3C and sulforaphane), polyphenols), and fiber.
Brassica vegetables have been studied to potentially:
- Prevent oxidative stress (which damages cells) by providing antioxidants
- May benefit neurodegenerative disease and heart disease
- Turn on detox enzymes in your body
- Increase phase II detoxification
- Support healthy detoxification and elimination of estrogen metabolites
- May be beneficial for hormonal balance and the prevention of estrogen-sensitive cancers
- Support the immune system
- Decrease chronic inflammation
- Reduce the risk of cancers: lung, colon, pancreatic, breast, bladder, and prostate
- Reduce and/or slow the growth of cancer cells
Looking to get the most brassica benefit from your microgreens? Chew mindfully! Chewing helps to break up the cell walls of the microgreens, which release the enzyme myrosinase. Myrosinase can then come into contact with the glucosinolates, changing them into isothiocyanates (like sulforaphane). Your gut bacteria help, too, but chewing, chopping, and so forth have the greatest impact on increasing sulforaphane (which is one of the most well-known beneficial phytochemicals in brassicas).
This blend contains:
- Chinese cabbage
- Purple Radish
- Red Mustard
Heart Healthy Signature Blend
In our Heart Healthy Signature Blend, bull’s blood microgreens contain betanin, which increases the action of NrF2, helping the body to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. They contain polyphenols (like you hear about in wine) and vitamin C to combat oxidative stress.
Watercress is ranked #1 on the CDC’s list of Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables because it is super nutrient-dense, containing 100% of the DV of vitamin K, 25% of the DV of vitamin A, and 25% of the DV of vitamin C in just one cup. Remember to optimally absorb vitamins A and K (fat-soluble vitamins), enjoy your watercress with a good quality high polyphenol olive oil.
Cruciferous vegetables such as watercress, broccoli sprouts, kale, and radish greens contain sulforaphane, which as discussed above is a sulfur-rich compound that has been shown to provide a number of health benefits.
This blend contains:
- Bulls Blood
- Radish Greens.
This Superfood Blend is thoughtfully curated, based on the CDC’s Powerhouse List of Fruits and Vegetables. Each of these microgreens is a superfood in its own right, but together they are powerful.
This blend contains:
- Bulls blood
How to Use Microgreens
The possibilities are truly endless. Microgreens are packed with flavor, making a great addition to all of the foods you regularly enjoy!
Consider pizza, tacos, pasta, sandwiches, wraps, oatmeal, eggs, seafood, steak, salads, and more Microgreens are best consumed uncooked because cooking them lessens their nutritional benefits.
Microgreens Delivered to Your Home
Freshness and growing conditions are essential when it comes to delicate microgreens. Our microgreens are harvested to order and shipped overnight to your home, arriving with optimal taste, texture, and nutritional value. We hope that you will give microgreens a try and, when you do, be sure to tag us on social media @farmerjonesfarm.