Can't wait for spring? I feel your pain. We long for something green under foot and something fresh, crisp and flavorful from the garden. But there is something anyone with a few proper seeds up their sleeve can do about it. Grow some "micro greens!"
Growing these baby greens is different from sprouting in that you grow seeds or seed blends selected for this purpose in soil and cut them while still tiny plants rather than eating them root and all like a sprout. The soil mat and root system is then composted. Anyone can grow their own with a few simple supplies readily found on-line. The flavors of micro greens are much more well-developed than those of a sprout and vary widely in a delightful way.
Think about the flavors of arugula, beet, Asian greens, radish, sweet pea, fennel, mustard, red amaranth, even sweet corn...and imagine the possibilities. Plus...and we chefs love this...they stack up nicely in a dramatic and vertical way to garnish salads, sandwiches, or cooked dishes. Like sprouts, micro greens are low in fat and high in vitamins, enzymes, trace elements, amino acids, and protein.
Interestingly, a wonderful new live micro greens company has just "put down roots" here in Maine. It's called Micro Mainea, and it's located on Westport Island. Judy Hughes is the owner and a master gardener. Let me assure you that they are so concise (take up very little refrigerator room), well packaged, fresh and interesting that you'll be on the phone for more before you know it. Judy can be reached for orders or tastings at either (207) 882 4214 or email her at
Versatile, beautiful and stunningly tasty, micro greens can give us a "jump start" on flavors we'd normally need to wait for, like sweet corn, beets, and peas. I suppose it could be considered cheating, but after a winter like this one, don't we deserve it?
Laura Cabot is an MF&L columnist and blogger, a French trained chef with a long career as a chef/restaurant owner, and president of Laura Cabot Catering in Waldoboro.