Lynette Hunter of Lath House Gardens is a regular at the Hillcrest and Little Italy farmers markets where she cuts microgreens to order.
When you come upon a field of microgreens at a farmers market, it transports you from the city street to the countryside, and the line of patient patrons shows you are not alone. The sensory experience as you watch the tiny, adorable microgreens being cut for each customer makes it worth the wait.
Microgreens are young vegetable greens harvested within one to three weeks of germination, and they are a burst of flavor in a tiny package. Containing a higher nutritional value than their grown-up counterparts, these babies have health benefits that include helping to regulate blood sugar, prevent heart disease and cancer, and improve cognition and vision.
Microgreens Rock, as Do Local Farmers
For those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and source their microgreens directly from a farmer, let me introduce you to Lath House Gardens, a woman-owned business that currently sells a variety of microgreens at local farmers markets.
Lynette Hunter started growing produce in her North County backyard in 2011 after twenty-eight years in academic publishing. When her company relocated, it was an opportunity to pivot and follow a new passion: gardening. With the help of her late husband, Mitch, who built her a custom greenhouse, she started growing tomatoes. Like most home gardeners, she gave away excess until friends convinced her to stop giving them away and inspired her to start selling them. Finding her niche in the farmers market scene and making a profit was challenging, and in 2014 she pivoted once again to growing and selling microgreens.
Lynette saw the potential in microgreens. They weren’t well known almost a decade ago, but they were incredibly nutritious, easy to grow, delicious, and unique. She had a winning combo if she could convince others, and convince them she did. Slowly she grew a customer base, her varieties increased, and she started selling at Little Italy and Hillcrest, the two largest markets in San Diego County. She grows and sells other varieties like sunflower shoots, pea tendrils, mustard, and purple kale to name a few. Her spicy radish mix is her personal favorite.
The Power of Buying Local
One of the beauties of farmers markets is getting to know your farmer. This relationship and support are key to the future of our food. Produce sold at farmers markets is typically grown on a smaller scale, utilizing regenerative and pesticide-free practices, growing with the season, and producing nutrient-dense food that is picked at its prime.
Lynette’s favorite thing about her business is the interactions she has with her customers. She shares, “When customers get to know the farmer, it becomes more personal, and they enjoy coming every week to chat.” Connection to our food and the people who grow it is vital in changing how we grow food and the impact these practices have on our Earth.
Growing and Eating Microgreens
If you want to have a go at farming your own, growing microgreens is fairly simple and can be done right on your kitchen counter. Talk about reducing your carbon footprint! Once you have them on hand, let your imagination run wild in all the ways you can incorporate microgreens into your diet. To get you started, here are some recipes:
- Cabbage and Microgreen Salad With Citrus and Pomegranate Seeds
- Winter Triple Orange and Fennel Salad
- Seared Tuna and Avocado Salad With Microgreens
- Pea Shoot Spring Rolls With Peanut Sauce
- Quinoa With Arugula Microgreens, Strawberries, and Feta