Looking to spice up your winter farmers market shopping routine? Try microgreens! These delicate morsels pack a significant flavor punch and will be available at markets all winter.
What is a microgreen? Microgreens are vegetable plants at the seedling stage, when the first couple of leaves have formed—including the cotyledons and one or two true leaves. They are usually harvested around two to three weeks. They differ from sprouts, which are germinated seeds and usually produced in water instead of dirt or peat moss.
Why should I eat them? Microgreens are incredibly nutrient-dense. Researchers with the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the United States Department of Agriculture determined that microgreens contain between four and forty times the nutrients of the mature vegetable. But beyond that, microgreens are super tasty with more intensity and a wider profile than their full-size counterparts. Want something sweet? Look for pea or sunflower shoots. Prefer some bite? Go for radish or even wasabi mustard microgreens.
How can I eat them? However you want! Add them to sandwiches for a bit of crunch and spice (try radish or mustard micros). Top your tacos with micro cilantro. Brighten up rich winter soups with micro leeks. Make a pizza or flatbread with micro broccoli for a complex, slightly bitter component. Toss a blend of microgreens into your scrambled eggs. Make a salad with micro kale and beet greens and top with goat cheese crumbles. You can also blend microgreens into smoothies or make pesto.
Beyond the micro, farmers markets right now have full-size greens like collards, kale, lettuce, and cabbage as well as root veggies like carrots, turnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. You’ll also find apples, mushrooms, and much more. Meat, eggs, cheese, bread, and artisan foods are also widely available.
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region, even in the winter. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.
Prepared by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.