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What the heck is a microgreen anyway?!

Have you heard of a microgreen before?   You may have seen our familiar silver tub sitting on the table at market, and wondered what these little packs of green are!

silver tub with microgreens packs


The most straight forward answer is that they are plants that are grown from seed, and harvested well before they mature.   Not only do they pack a huge flavor punch, they also are FULL of good nutrients!  Some studies report up to 40% more beneficial nutrients and components than their full grown plant.

In this in-depth guide, you’ll learn all about what microgreens are, why they’re so good for you, and creative ways to eat them. Let’s dive in!

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens aren’t fully grown greens—they’re harvested much sooner than that.   For us, we’ve found the sweet spot in our setup, and the typical time frame is 10 days start to finish.   At harvest, the plants are still itty-bitty, just 1-3 inches tall.

But don’t let their petite size fool you! Microgreens are bursting with big flavor and nutrients. These baby greens are little nutritional dynamos.

The official definition is that microgreens are vegetables or herbs that are harvested after the first true leaves have developed. (This is obviously much sooner than waiting for them to fully mature.)

So, they’re just sprouts?

Sorta kinda, but no.   Technically speaking, our microgreens are shoots, grown indoors, in soil.

2024 is our 9th year of growing microgreens, and we’ve gotten really good with the timing as well as the environmental conditions that make our microgreens thrive.   Though we don’t have each variety every week, some of the varieties we sell at the Hardin County Farmers Market include:

  • Basic Salad Mix
  • Spicy Salad Mix
  • Extra Spicy Salad Mix
  • Asian Microgreen blend
  • Superfood Mix
  • Radish (China Rose, Daikon, or rainbow radish)
  • Sunflower
  • Broccoli Salad Mix
  • Peas
  • “Kitchen Sink” (since we pack by weight, this ends up being a little of everything!)

Nutrient Powerhouses

Here’s where microgreens really stand out from other greens.  They contain super high amounts of vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Studies have shown microgreens can have up to 40% higher nutrient levels than their fully grown counterparts! That’s pretty incredible for a just-sprouted seedling.

Some of the most plentiful nutrients in microgreens are:

  • Vitamins C, E, K
  • Folate
  • Minerals like iron, calcium, zinc
  • Carotenoids and anthocyanins (helpful antioxidants)

So, you get all those nutrients packed into a tiny vegetable that bursts with flavor. That’s what makes microgreens such a nutritional powerhouse.

No matter which varieties you choose, microgreens deliver an explosion of vitamins and minerals. They’re one of the simplest ways to get more nutrition into your diet.

What do you do with them?

This is probably the question we get asked the most at market!   We answer:

  • Put them in a salad (I absolutely love doing this, because you get ALL those vegetable flavors + nutrition with ZERO chopping)
  • Put them on a sandwich instead of lettuce
  • Substitute them for any “green” in a raw sauce recipe such as pesto or chimichurri.
  • Put a pinch of them on top of your finished dinner to make a beautiful (and tasty) presentation
  • Add a pinch to smoothies for a nutrition boost!


How we use them

All of the above – PLUS (!!) they are even a key ingredient in some of our gluten friendly cookies!!   My special Vegan Cinnamon Blondies contain a healthy heaping of our radish microgreens.

And have you eaten any of the “toasts” from Vibe Coffee Shop in Elizabethtown or Hodgenville?   S&B Bell Farms is their pea shoot supplier!!

toast with Benedictine spread, onions, and pea shoots

wheat toast with avocado and pea shoots

How to Grow Your Own Microgreens

Want to try growing microgreens yourself? It’s surprisingly doable even for beginners. All you need is some basic supplies:

  • Seeds (choose fast growers like radish, lettuce, arugula, peas)
  • A “double” tray or container with good drainage (for example – starting with small trays with holes, and stacking them into a grow tray without holes)
  • Seed starting mix or potting soil
  • Water
  • Light (sunny window or grow light)

Start by spreading the soil evenly in your tray, and then sprinkle the seeds lightly on top.  Mist with water and keep moist as they germinate.  After the first seedlings start to show, begin watering only from the bottom – simply lift up the tray with “holes” and add water into the bottom of the “without holes” tray.

Once the seedlings develop their first true leaves, use scissors or a knife to snip them right above soil level. Rinse and pat dry – now you’ve got fresh microgreens to enjoy for 7-10 days!  Be sure to keep them refrigerated to keep them fresher longer.

You have to practice to get your timing and care dialed in, but growing your own microgreens is so rewarding. And you can’t beat their amazing flavors and crunchy texture.

Final Thoughts

Give them a try and start mixing them into your usual salads, sandwiches, eggs and more. Trust me, there’s a whole world of flavors and textures to discover.

And if you’re looking for a little food inspiration, be sure to check out some of our recipes – many of them feature our microgreens!


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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Laura

    This is great. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lauren Maker

    This was really informative and very helpful post! Thanks for sharing

  3. pedja

    I didn’t know much about microgreens until a couple of years ago. Now, we have them regularly in our diet. Thanks for sharing his info.

  4. Catherine

    Interesting! I had never heard of microgreens until reading your post. Thanks for the great information!

  5. Ann

    I like this because it’s easy for beginners like me to grow microgreens with simple supplies and steps. It’s a practical guide to enjoy fresh greens at home. Thanks for this awesome post!

  6. Angelia

    Great information! Microgreens seem like something that I could handle growing. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Jolayne

    They sure do make a delicate looking garnish as well as being tasty.

  8. Kristine Beard

    Great guide and review of growing your own microgreens! Thank you for this must have useful information.

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