Tiny but mighty, microgreens are the latest fad sweeping the food world, and for good reason. The immature greens are rich in vitamins and minerals, providing more nutrients than full-grown plants. They also add a fresh bite to just about any dish. Eden Glory Farms is catapulting these greens’ rise to popularity, sharing their locally-grown microgreens in New Jersey.
Based in Passaic County and serving northern New Jersey, Eden Glory Farms aims for a true “root-to-table” experience. They employ vertical farming to grow an assortment of living microgreens and more for individuals, restaurants and organizations.
But the inspiration and mission behind Eden Glory Farms wasn’t a selfish one for founders Aaron and LauraLee Harding. “When we embarked on this journey, we wanted to start by giving,” LauraLee shared.
Eden Glory Farms partnered with local nonprofit New Hope Community Ministries, seeking to supply local food pantries with healthy produce. After revitalizing the garden beds and establishing a vertical farming system at the New Hope facility, they found that one family of greens, in particular, was best suited for providing for and empowering the community with food: microgreens.
Health Benefits of Microgreens
“Microgreens can deliver up to 40 times higher levels of nutrients than their adult plants,” explained LauraLee. Because the greens are harvested at a young age, they contain all the nutrients necessary to help them grow into larger plants, but concentrated in their tiny stature. A small serving offers a powerful supply of vitamins and minerals. This is particularly important for those who receive food from the pantries Eden Glory supports; a consistent intake of these greens helps people who may struggle with food insecurity receive the nutrients they need in their diet.
Healthline notes that most varieties of these greens are “rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper.” Further, the increased levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in microgreens may help reduce the risk of multiple diseases including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some types of cancer.
Microgreens and Vertical Farming
Beyond their nutritional appeal, microgreens are also easy to grow. They do especially well in places that aren’t normally conducive to gardening and farming.
For suburban and urban farmers alike—and even for those whose green thumbs may be lacking—microgreens are a safe and practical option. They are relatively low maintenance and can grow indoors, and they don’t require much space.
Eden Glory Farms uses vertical farming, a process that stacks crops upwards instead of growing them across a field or open space. Vertical farming is convenient for urban areas where space is limited, and microgreens do especially well in these farming environments.
The greatest advantage of vertical farming, LauraLee shared, is the flexibility and sustainability it offers. Vertical farming systems grow a variety of plants with less water and resources, these structures are customizable based upon the available space in a location. As part of their work, Eden Glory Farms helps plan and establish custom vertical farms for their clients. Vertical towers are designed to suit the unique needs of various businesses by producing herbs, leafy greens, medicinal plants and flowers.
Empowering the Community with Food
They also place a focus on knowledge and education, teaching their community how to grow plants in small spaces. Through the recent “Dig In” grant from City Green NJ, Eden Glory Farms expanded its community outreach at New Hope Community Ministries and can now provide even more nutritious options to local families.
Supplying people with an influx of nutritious greens was especially important for the community and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eden Glory Farms continued providing their produce to New Hope Community Ministries, but they also launched a microgreens subscription. Greens rich in immunity-boosting nutrients are available for order through their website. You can pick up your greens at The Health Stop in Wyckoff, NJ or use Eden Glory Farms’ delivery service.
Their subscription packages consist of sunflower shoots, pea shoots, a seasonal mix and a micro-herb mix. Of the products they offer, their most notable include sunflower shoots and pea shoots. The punchy sunflower shoots provide a powerful bite to your dish, while pea shoots offer a comparably tamer flavor. You can eat these greens plain (by the handful, as I so shamelessly did) or incorporate them into your meal (also highly recommended).
The experts at Eden Glory Farms suggest: “Add handfuls (or a pinch) of raw microgreens as a topping to your omelette, salad, soup, sandwich, wrap or panini. Add a colorful pile on top of your entrees. Mix into warm pasta or your kid’s mac n’ cheese. Pour a generous handful into your smoothies. The options are endless!”
Eden Glory Farms microgreens are available at Green Grocer Food Hub in Bloomfield, NJ and The Health Stop in Wyckoff, NJ. They also can be purchased online at egfarms.com.