Localicious – Microgreens: The Future of Vegetables at Lava Oasis Farm

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You’ve probably heard the buzz about “micro greens.” But aren’t “micro greens” just sprouts? Almost … but not quite. Not to belittle sprouts, but they are missing two things that make all the difference: sunshine and healthy soil. Involving those extra components in the growing process not only allows micro greens to acquire their greener color, it also promotes a nutrient-dense environment for the seedlings to thrive in.

Essentially, microgreens are baby vegetables that hold a profound nutrient profile. These little greens exceed our expectations, with recent research revealing that they contain 4 to 40 times the nutrients of their adult counterparts. They’re loaded with phytonutrients, fiber, protein, vitamin C, E, K and beta-carotene, to name a few.

Microgreens are growing in popularity, and for good reason. The growing process alone just makes sense and has potential for changing the way we view our vegetables. Due to the nutrient density, they can sustain you longer than can be expected from average vegetables.

art-1215-loca2So where do we get our hands on these powerful little green vegetables? Lava Oasis Farm makes it easy in parts of the North State. Cleverly packaged with a “harvested on” date, as opposed to a “best by” date, you can find their “Spicy Mix,” “Micro Sunflower,” and “Oasis Blend” in several local markets, including Orchard Nutrition in Redding, McCloud Market in McCloud, Mt. Shasta Supermarket and Berryvale Grocery in Mt. Shasta, and at various seasonal farmers markets. You can even find them plated in local restaurants such as Yaks in Dunsmuir and Lily’s in Mt. Shasta.

Lava Oasis Farm is located off the grid in beautiful McCloud, where owners Keith and Ruth Peddinghaus run their simple yet thriving homestead. Their dream of making a nourishing and sustainable living on their very own farm has come true. The farm recently became even more of a “family affair” when their adult sons, Derek and Aaron, moved to the area to help with the farm after falling in love with microgreens.

Beginning their farm from the ground up, Keith and Ruth have changed their farming mindset over time. Now, instead of working on their hands and knees day in and day out, they are able to save stress on their backs by working at waist-height. And in growing greens instead of full-grown vegetables “we get a harvest every two weeks, instead of every three months,” Ruth says. With their greenhouse they are able to grow and harvest their microgreens year round.

The Peddinghaus’ believe in real food, without the use of chemicals. They begin with non-GMO seeds of kohlrabi, kale, red cabbage, broccoli, radish, arugula and sunflower. Their miniature vegetables, considered “petites” due to their size of 1-1 ½  inches, are grown in nutrient-rich soil. These sprouts are not low-maintenance, however. Almost like a baby, they need to be attended to multiple times a day. Ruth calls herself the “mother of millions.”

You may be wondering, what’s the best way to eat Microgreens? Keep them uncooked to keep their nutrients intact, suggests Ruth. The greens offer a wonderful combination of freshness, color and a unique nutty flavor, and are easy to chew, making them suitable for young and old. Here are a few easy options to include these nutrient-dense little veggies in your every-day meals:

  • Salad ~ Keep it simple by just tossing them with your favorite healthful dressing, or top them with sunflower seeds and blue cheese. You can also enjoy them in place of lettuce in a chicken Caesar or Chinese salad.
  • Sandwich ~ Make your sandwich as usual and add microgreens; they help hold in other veggies such as red onions or tomatoes, and they give a wonderful pop of flavor with each bite.
  • Garnish ~ Use your creativity – microgreens add a fun presence to any dish. Consider asking your young family members where the greens belong with the meal! Some ideas include: eggs, burritos, tacos, stir fry’s, soups and pastas.

No matter which way you have your microgreens, may you enjoy every last bite of them!

To find retail locations selling their microgreens, to place a direct order, or to learn more about Lava Oasis Farm, visit http://www.lavaoasisfarm.com, or call (530) 605-6820.

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Localicious is a monthly column celebrating food in the North State. If you would like to suggest a food-related business or organization, email us at localicious@northstateparent.com

Hannah Kraemer
About Hannah Kraemer

A resident of Siskiyou County since 2013, writer Hannah Nelson’s main passion is nutrition. Graduating from the Nutritional Therapy Association in June 2011, she gives her best to helping others live a healthier, fuller life.

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