How to be a farmer in your own dining room
by Ann Thurlow
There’s something very hopeful about a tray of fresh greens growing by the window. Especially if it’s the winter; most especially if you can eat the greens just a few days after you plant them. They are microgreens—little shoots that taste like the very essence of vegetables. This week it’s spicy cress, next week it might be kaiware radish or sweet pea shoots; they are elemental and delicious.
These tiny gardens are popping up on window sills all over, thanks to the efforts of Max Rousseux-Bridle and his dad, Alan. Together they are The Micro Farmers, a company based in Summerside.
They began their business in Ontario. But Max moved to PEI to take a new job, Alan followed and they set up shop, selling primarily at the Summerside Farmers’ market and on line. It’s fun to visit them at the market; all the varieties of microgreens are growing - you can taste them and admire their bright green and cheering beauty. As well as being lovely, the greens are nutritionally dense—pretty and good for you.
Here’s how it works. A starter kit will get you a hard, plastic tray, three hemp mats and some seed. After some trial and error, hemp was chosen as the ideal growing medium. You lay a mat in the tray, sprinkle it with seed and water it. It goes into a dark place until it sprouts—then it’s in the window to grow. It can be harvested to go in a salad, on a sandwich—anywhere you need some flavour and snap.
Though the microgreen kits are starting to take off, the company’s cat grass kits are their biggest seller. (Q. Why do we treat out cats better than we treat ourselves?) It works on the same principle though, sadly, the cat does none of the work.
The kits are fun and it’s an easy way to add some good nutrition to your meals. But the company also has a larger purpose, too. They aim to help people foster a deeper connection with their food. And even if it’s just a little tray of greens, you grew it and harvested it yourself and that’s deeply satisfying.
Find them at the Summerside Farmers’ Market, in selected specialty shops and at www.themicrofarmers.ca.