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Sunflower Microgreens—Potent Packs of Protein

Naturally grown sunflower microgreens are amazing little plants. Microgreens are seed sprouts that are grown in a soil medium or hydroponically and harvested by cutting off the first starter leaves. These first tender embryonic leaves, or cotyledons, are packed with all the flavor, protein, vitamins, and nutrients of the original sunflower seed, and they’re green, crunchy, and tender.

Microgreens add zest to any salad. ((Yummly: Sunflower Sprout Salad Recipes)) Garnish microgreens on fried green tomatoes ((Edible Austin, Seasonal Plate, Summer 2009)), miso-glazed black cod ((SuperCharge! Foods)), mix them into hummus ((Food.com: Sprouted Sunflower Seed Hummus)), or just snack on them throughout the day. Don’t forget to pack them into your next sandwich for an extra-healthy punch of flavor.

Tempo Bistro To Go
Microgreens spice up a sandwich (image source: Yelp)

Are they just good to eat, or can sunflower microgreens actually help you feel better? In 2010 LiveLiving Magazine published an article recommending sprouted sunflower seeds as a remedy for depression. “Sunflower seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan which activates serotonin production in the body. Serotonin is one of the body’s most important neurotransmitter. When released it allows the body to relax and gives the feeling of well being.” ((LiveLiving: The Tiny Sunflower Seed is BIG in Nutrition))

Sunflower Microgreens growing at Ragtime Ranch Family Farm
Our own Sunflower Microgreens growing at Ragtime Ranch Family Farm

A study conducted by The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the sprouted cotyledons of microgreens are more nutritious than mature leaves of the same plant. “Although small in size, microgreens can provide surprisingly intense flavors, vivid colors, and crisp textures and can be served as an edible garnish or a new salad ingredient.” ((Assessment of Vitamin and Carotenoid Concentrations of Emerging Food Products: Edible Microgreens
Zhenlei Xiao, Gene E. Lester, Yaguang Luo, and Qin Wang
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2012 60 (31), 7644-7651)) The study “ultimately discovered that the microgreens contained four to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts. ((Mighty Microgreens | University of Maryland College of Agriculture & Natural Resources))

Microgreens retain these amino acids and other nutrients after sprouting, and add the benefit of chlorophyl. Chlorophyll is high in magnesium, and is present in all green plants. The dark green color of sunflower microgreens is evidence of their high levels of chlorophyl. The more the better—darker color indicates more nutrient content. ((WebMD: Tiny Microgreens Packed With Nutrients))

Sunflower Microgreens in growing tray
A try of Sunflower Microgreens ready for harvest at Ragtime Ranch Family Farm

Can’t resist? Stop by our booth any Saturday in Elgin at the River Valley Farmer’s Market.

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Our First Farmer’s Market

Ragtime Ranch Family Farm debuted our first farmer’s market today! Our local HEB grocery store hosts the River Valley Farmer’s Market every wednesday in front of the store. We finally had enough produce (even after selling to all our family and friends) that we felt like we were ready to venture out to the market with our goods.

It was actually quite intimidating – what if people didn’t buy our food, what if we didn’t look as good as the other growers, what if our food isn’t as good? In the end our fears were unfounded, and we did really well – it was an encouraging turnout for our first time.

It was really exhausting. We were there for almost four hours, kids and all. The kids did amazingly, and Mimi and Papa came also, so it really was a family farm.

Our first farmer's market!
Our first farmer’s market!

Here is a picture of what we sold.

Eggplants, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, basil, peppers, and microgreens
Eggplants, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, basil, peppers, and microgreens

Farm Girl did an fantastic job of managing the table and selling the veggies. She wanted to talk to everybody who walked by, and was our most enthusiastic seller.

Farm Girl at the farm stand.
Farm Girl at the farm stand.