In preparation for a campaign on food safety for microgreens, our team recently visited Verde Farms in Alamogordo, NM to get an up-close look at a microgreens growing operation. Marc Linton, owner, was gracious enough to show us around and talk through the steps he takes to grow the microgreens that he sells locally. We came ready to ask lots of questions!
Microgreens are nutrient-dense “baby” plants harvested 10 to 21 days after the seeds have germinated, when plants are 1 to 3 inches tall. Unlike sprouts, microgreens are not eaten with the roots of the plant, and are grown in either soil or an inert growing medium.
There are many ways to grow microgreens: in sunlight or under artificial lighting, in special seed trays or in pots, as a monoculture or mixed together, in soil or hydroponically in a growing medium.
Marc says he learned most of what he knows from “the University of YouTube,” videos from amateur growers around the world who share their knowledge and best practices. At Verde Farms, they chose to grow microgreens indoors under artificial lighting. Initially using standard seed trays to grow the greens, they are switching to using modified rain gutters with an automated watering system. The greens are grown without soil in a fibrous growing medium.
The greens are sold at the local farmers market in Las Cruces as a “living tray” so that consumers can cut and wash the greens themselves. When microgreens are uncut, they can last in the fridge for up to four weeks as a "living food." Once cut, they are best eaten right away. It’s also important to wash microgreens before eating them, like all other fresh produce.
We’ll be creating more media with information about microgreens in the future, but for now we’re grateful to Verde Farms for sharing their knowledge and letting us look around.
Written By: Jeffery Buras, Social Media Specialist