Try sprouts for your eating doubts
Need some fresh green eats this winter season? A local farm offers the goods.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 16:41
SPROUTS: The magical, mystical micro-green. (Photo: Em-j Staples)
Outside of the kitchen window, snow gently falls outside. As the white gradually blankets the surrounding rooftops and evergreens, a tray of sunflower sprouts sits atop a windowsill, each day growing a little taller. At least that's what Maggie Taylor imagines when she thinks of this holiday season.
Taylor is an employee of Tiny Greens Organic Farm. A 30-acre spread full of cheer — farming, yoga retreating and eco-community living. She's been selling the farm's sprouts and baby micro-greens at markets for the past three years.
"I love giving people healthy food," she said. "It's a part of this important relationship you have with your food."
Sprouts and baby micro-greens are living foods beneficial to staying healthy. I read up on my greens literature and according to the Tiny Greens brochure, sprouts are rich in digestible energy, and full of vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids and phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants — beta carotene is a common example). Like sprouts, micro-greens have similar nutritional benefits, but have the full-blast flavor of adult plants. Micro-greens start from full seeds, like broccoli or cilantro seeds, and are grown close together in a tray of soil. They take about 10 days to grow, and then are cut fresh for consumption.
On Saturday mornings at the indoor Urbana market, the Tiny Greens stand constantly has customers. It has a variety of micro-greens cut fresh and sold for $2 a bag. Customers choose from radish, arugula, black union, fennel, beets, cabbage, sunflower or snow peas, just to name a few. Regular Lori Martinsek mixes the purple basil micro-greens with regular basil in her pesto.
"It's just incredible," she said. "I also make funky salads, sauces, and a stuffed meatloaf."
Taylor mentioned that nothing compares to the taste of the fresh greens.
"It's a really full, potent flavor. If you don't have time to cut an onion, just use the black onion greens in a sandwich," she said.
People across the prairie state have access to these greens. The farm sells its goods in Chicago during the Green City Market season in the spring, summer and early fall. It also takes individual orders and delivers to both Chicago and Indianapolis regions.
Taylor also mentioned that customers buy a full tray of sprouted greens still in soil. Just sit it on your windowsill and give it water. Just like that, you can harvest your own right in your kitchen, even in the dead of winter.
"I travel a lot and I just put them in the freezer," said Martinsek. "My freezer has all kinds of treasures. The sprouts are magic."
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