Microgreens a mega hit

Supplying fresh gourmet greens for the Waikato Farmers’ Market is a family affair for Stephen and Jan Low.
Throughout the year they offer a range of microgreens – young plants including radish, kale, cress and broccoli – and, at the right time of year, tomatoes.
The couple’s daughters, Vicky and Gabriella, often come to the Market as well.
“We spend a lot of time chatting with customers about the microgreens, their benefits and how to use them.”
Based in the Hauraki Plains, trading as Plain View Gardens, Stephen says they needed to find a crop for the winter months.
“We did some research and decided to give microgreens a go, they were ideal. It still took three years to get where we are now with them.”
The tiny greens have been a bit of a hit in Hamilton, he says, and customers love them.
Selling directly to customers is great.
“People keep coming back and we get to know them and what they want. It’s good to get feedback. And everyone at the Market, customers and other stall holders, are all passionate about their food.” The microgreens are harvested between seven and 14 days – when they’re fresh and tender.
One of the most popular is wheatgrass, which is highly nutritious, he says.
“This is mainly used for juicing and is rich in vitamins. We drink it every day ourselves – except on the weekends when we’re a bit busy with the Market.”
All the young plants, grown to baby leaf stage or just before, help add colour and spice to salads, sandwiches and dishes from all regions of the world.
“They pop up in upmarket restaurants, as a garnish, and you often see them used on cooking shows.
We had to do a little more education about them before, but now people know what they are.”
Everything is gearing up for the new season. “We managed to grow little gourmet tomatoes right through the winter, they had a lovely flavour. Now I’ve got flowers on my heritage tomatoes, they’ll be producing soon. I’ve just had a look at the beans – the vines are taller than me, and the cucumbers are starting to come up. It will all be happening soon.”
And of course, microgreens are available all year round.