By Becky Streeter
If you want to be in-the-know for current food trends, then you better brush up on your microgreens. Grown in soil, these tiny seedlings are harvested within 7 to 20 days after planting and provide a world of nutritional benefits, as well as giving your meal that extra little kick that makes you want to go back for a second helping.
Dan Czelatdko, owner and farmer of Farm Doc Microgreens, saw a need in the Chippewa Valley and knew he could fill the niche. Czelatdko, a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist by trade, is always looking for ways to provide nutrition to his patients without having to use supplements. While on a trip to Phoenix, AZ, he came across microgreens and the ideas clicked into place.
Czelatdko found an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published by Maryland University stating microgreens have up to 40 times the nutrients found in the pure plant. This includes Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lutein, and beta-carotene.1Microgreens are also grown in soil, almost completely eliminating the bacterial concerns found with bean sprouts, which are grown in water. This was enough to convince Czelatdko.
Already familiar with farming practices from working on his own large-scale lavender farm, Czelatdko decided to give it a whirl. Microgreens germinate in the dark for three or four days, then are uncovered and put under grow lights for an additional three to six days. The plants are harvested once they have two leaves. If they start to grow more than two leaves, they can turn bitter and are no longer palatable. Czelatdko says, “I’m constantly checking my microgreens every day—they’re kind of like babies. I’m not singing to them or playing music yet, but that might be next step!” The plants are harvested free of moisture so they can be stored up to two weeks and still be as fresh as though they were just picked.
And it turns out: people love microgreens! Czelatdko states, “My most popular microgreens are sunflowers, snow peas, radish, and our basic salad mix which includes broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, arugula, and red cabbage. We also do a spicy blend that adds in a red mustard to the salad mix.” Microgreens are great on sandwiches, pizza, in salads, smoothies and even scrambled eggs. The possibilities are endless.
Farm Doc Microgreens has only been around since April 2018, but the demand is steadily increasing. Czelatdko provides his crop to three local restaurants (Mona Lisa’s, Bijou Bistro, Za51), he is in several farmers’ markets, stocked in Just Local Foods, and has a pop-up stand at the Coffee Grounds on Saturdays. In addition, Czelatdko will be starting a microgreens CSA subscription program this fall. He plans to offer different sized packages ranging from 5oz per week for 12 weeks at a total cost of $120, and up to 12oz per week for 12 weeks at a total cost of $290. He will also include recipes and ideas people can try with their new greens.
“It’s fun to find a passion,” Czelatdko states. “It’s fun to share the possibilities out there to enhance your food and accent your nutritional intake, and still have something that is delicious to eat.”
For more information about microgreens or to sign up for the CSA, check out Farm Doc Microgreens on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/farmdocmicrogreens).