by Sanne Kure-Jensen
How many foods can be grown and sold in under a week? Microgreens are ready to sell 5 to 10 days after germination. Baby greens are harvested less than 2 weeks after germination.
Super Babies® “are tiny living pieces of art!” says CEO Lauri Roberts who produces microgreens under the Super Babies name. Chefs love using microgreens as tasty, colorful garnishes. They know that a just a few tiny greens sprinkled over an appetizer or dish will make a big visual impact. A little goes a long way, helping chefs justify the cost of these greens.
Owner Lauri Roberts uses a large sprouting room and two greenhouses to produce certified organic microgreens and baby greens year-round at Farming Turtles in Exeter, RI. The farm also grows wheatgrass for people and pets and shitake mushrooms.
Farming Turtles’ philosophy is “Always Fresh.” Roberts has experimented and selected her favorite seed varieties and suppliers. Roberts’ loyalty to her best suppliers ensures she can deliver top quality, consistent flavor to her own customers.
All crops grow in rich sterilized, certified organic soil for the best flavor and nutrition. Densely planted seed trays spend a few days in shallow racks stacked to the ceiling. Regular misting under bright growing lights yields fast germination, bright seedling color and maximum nutrition. Next, staff move trays to a greenhouse for five to 14 days and then to a drying room for eight to 10 hours before harvest and packing. Harvesting dry product offers a long shelf life.
Customers can buy either cut or potted baby greens that stay garden-fresh until harvest in customers’ kitchens.
Roberts said, “a mouthful of Farming Turtles greens offers a nutritional punch.” Seedlings will contain more nutrition than mature plants ever can. In a study done in 2012, researcher Qin Wang, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland in College Park said, “The micro greens and microherbs were four- to 40-fold more concentrated with nutrients than their mature counterparts.”
The farm’s microgreen offerings include arugula, Asian blend (purple kohlrabi and Chinese cabbage ‘Kogan’e), Bull’s Blood beet, carrot, chervil, cilantro, curley cress, cutting celery, Firecracker Zest (arugula, mustard, red cabbage, Kogane and Bull’s Blood beet), Genovese basil, onion, opal basil, purple kohlrabi, red amaranth, red cabbage, Red Russian kale, Ruby Red chard and tatsoi
Six varieties of baby greens include China Rose radish, daikon radish, purple daikon radish, snow pea shoots, sunflower greens and wheatgrass (for juicing).
The farm offers a variety of other products including Edible Centerpieces, Pet Salad (wheatgrass, Homegrown Microgreen Kits, Pet Salad® Kits and a Home-Grown Shiitake Mushroom Log Kits.
Besides USDA Organic Certification, Lauri Roberts maintains food safety certification with third party auditors. Certifications include Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification by the state of Rhode Island and a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification by the American Institute of Baking (AIB), the preeminent organization for auditing food safety.
Farming Turtles sells to distributors, restaurants, caterers and retailers. Deliveries go to Boston, New York City and across Rhode Island
Visit www.farmingturtles.com for more information.
Microgreens production at ‘Farming Turtles’
by Sanne Kure-Jensen