What are Microgreens? Microgreens are tiny vegetables and herbs that are harvested at their maximum nutrient density, at the formation of the first ‘true leaves’ of the plant. In 2012 a study published at the University of Maryland concluded that microgreens contain between 4 and 40 times the nutrient density of their full grown relatives. Thus, a tablespoon of raw microgreens is a full serving of vegetables.
In addition to their superfood properties, microgreens pack tremendous fresh flavor into a small bite. Sunflower shoots are crisp, crunchy, and taste similar to roasted sunflower seeds. Micro cilantro combines the flavor of coriander with fresh herbal cilantro. Radish, arugula, and mustard microgreens make up our ‘Spicy Mix’ and bring a potent bite to the table, with notes of horseradish, wasabi, and a peppery finish which is excellent on tacos, salads, sandwiches, fish, and by itself! Of course, microgreens are beautiful as a garnish on any dish.
Although we don’t have much land at our urban farm, we have increased our production capacity by employing a CropBox. A CropBox is a turnkey hydroponic grow system retrofitted in a used shipping container, allowing us to control almost every aspect of the growing environment. Temperature, precipitation, light, humidity, CO2 levels, and air circulation are all managed via an integrated software program. We use a Reverse Osmosis filter to scrub the water of any impurities before introducing it to the greens. With this level of control over the grow environment, there is no need for pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or any additives! We produce microgreens with non GMO heritage seed and the perfect growing environment!
Who are the people at Sweet Peas? The team at Sweet Peas Urban Gardens believes that urban farming is fundamental to the creation of healthy, sustainable food production for our growing metropolitan society. As more folks flock to revitalized inner cities and neighborhoods, the demand for locally produced fresh food is expanding, catalyzing a re-evaluation of the potential of these traditionally non-agricultural landscapes. Moving from rural fields of row crops to dense neighborhood farms and gardens constitutes an urgent and exciting transition.
Sweet Peas Urban Gardens has emerged to be one of the most successful pioneers of this transition in the Triangle. Started by Tami Purdue on her own residential property, Sweet Peas Urban Gardens stays true to the name; this urban farm is located less than 2 miles from downtown Raleigh. The team grows over fifty-five varieties of microgreens and vegetable shoots exemplifying the precepts of the urban farm movement.
Tami Purdue is trained as an accountant and has a twenty year track record managing a very successful law practice in the Triangle. Her own "foodie" journey led her from rapt engagement with entertainment cooking, to organic gardening, to a profound fascination with all the ways food culture underlies manifold concerns of health, justice, identity and personal expression. What started out as avocation has turned into an ardent quest to seek mentors and fellowship, to fuse blue sky thinking with cash register reality, and to weaving a brocade of allies from the Interfaith Food Shuttle to NCSU to going businesses like The Produce Box, and Farm Table, to name a couple..
Just over a year ago Tami joined forces with Julie Gauthier, a veterinarian and public health expert employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Julie has been deployed all over the planet to protect or rescue the safe production of food at the farm source. Julie is from a multi-generation farm family and has been deeply engaged as an artisan farmer outside her career at USDA, specializing in preserving heritage strains of livestock as well as being a pioneer with microgreens. She is rare for combining an innate common sense, fix-it-yourself farmer practicality with world class erudition and rigorous scientific discipline.
Sweet Peas Urban Gardens is a company that literally thinks globally, and acts locally, blending deep technical expertise, business acumen, social responsibility and aesthetic sensibility into a recipe that shouts to be shared.