Microgreens: Year-Round Local Produce

The arrival of Summer comes with a wealth of great things; warm weather, spending time with family and friends (2020 craziness excluded), and a whole host of locally grown produce to choose from! For those few months you can find local farmers tending to their crops and selling the freshest products that you can get without growing them yourself! Once those bright and sunny days start to fade into Fall and through Winter we are normally left with relying on buying produce from large grocery stores that source produce from across the country or across the world. Here at HHMH, we wanted to change the normal model of buying “fresh” produce when it is out of season so we embarked on a journey into growing microgreens right here on the homestead. Below I’ll give a brief explanation of what microgreens actually are, why we wanted to grow them, and how we think this can completely change the way that local produce is understood!

From a high level view, microgreens are basically the very beginning stage of life for an edible crop. Sometimes (not completely correctly) referred to as sprouts, these baby plants pack a huge amount of nutrition and flavor into a beautiful and delicate package. Popular microgreens include sunflower, pea, radish, and a variety of salad greens all with their own unique flavors and textures. The typical microgreen crop is grown under controlled conditions, often indoors, and will take 7 to 20 days to harvest from the time of planting. During this time there are many details that go into the care of a microgreens crop, but we’ll save that for another time!

A flat of basil right after germination.

One of the beauties of microgreens is that they work extremely well in controlled environments. What this means is that no matter what the temperature is outside, be it 105° or -10° the greens are protected from the elements that field crops have to endure. Our current grow space is humidity and temperature controlled and features advanced full-spectrum LED lighting to allow the crops to thrive once they are uncovered during germination. Owing to the fact that the crop is a small plant, microgreen grow spaces can be extremely space-efficient by using vertical space to produce significant yields from a tiny square footage! One 10″ x 20″ flat can produce close to a pound of greens in about a week!

Two of the racks in our grow space showing off a variety of different crops.

On the homestead we try to eat as locally as possible and organic produce is preferred, but the consistency of the produce during off-seasons and costs can get pretty high. It is our goal to produce as much of our greens and fresh produce as possible and microgreens are a key part in helping to make that happen. We love the texture and density of flavor that our microgreens provide us and adding them to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes lets us pack some additional nutrients into our normal meals.

As of today, we have a variety of different microgreens growing in the grow space including: sunflower, mild & spicy mix, kale, beets & chard, radish, and even nasturtium! Much like we do with our maple syrup, we are offering our products for sale to help us offset our costs and to allow us to grow into a larger operation that can support higher levels of locally grown organic produce production. If you are interested in trying our microgreens for yourself (and are in the northern CT area), send us a note and we’ll get in contact with you!

Our microgreens on display at a recent farmers market.

That pretty much covers our basic overview of microgreens and the reason why we decided to begin growing them on our homestead. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below or email us at contact@hartlandhollow.com. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook @hartlandhollowmodernhomestead and we look forward to you joining us for more adventures from our modern homestead!

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