By Magda Dakin
It’s exciting to see the first few shoots of green come out of the ground in the spring. Your mouth waters thinking about the fresh crisp tastes that will be coming soon. Larissa Molina of First Leaves Family Farm doesn’t have to wait until spring and neither do you. Larissa enjoys sprouting greens every day, in every season, in her greenhouses in Whitinsville.
“I love to watch the sprouts come up, all the different colors and tastes. When I go to farmers’ markets the customers are always amazed at the variety of microgreens available and the many ways of using them to make meals taste even better.”
Microgreens are herbs and vegetables harvested at their first stage of development, usually between 7 to 14 days, which is when, according to foodies and cooking experts, the food value is the greatest, “harnessing the most nutrients possible.”
Larissa has been experimenting with commercial microgreen production since 2013 and has perfected the techniques. She provides the microgreens to five local restaurants interested in the farm-to-table concept and is regularly featured at the Canal District Farmers Market, 138 Green St. in Worcester, where you will find her on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon. During the summer she attends many area farmers markets, but for Blackstone Valley locals, the microgreens are available directly at the greenhouses in Whitinsville year-round.
Adding microgreens to your dishes enhances their flavor, says Larissa, as well as the total nutrient content. The top ten most popular mini-greens are chives, broccoli, radish, sunflower, mizuna, beets, kale, basil, chia and garden cress. Unlike sprouts that are grown in water, microgreens are grown in soil in small pots, perfectly fresh until you pick them, just before using. Researchers at University of Maryland write: “The microgreens were four- to 40– fold more concentrated with nutrients….for example, red cabbage microgreens had 40 times more vitamin E and six more times vitamin C than mature red cabbage.”
Larissa creates her beautiful tasty greens in small pots, so they can sit on your kitchen counter waiting to be harvested. It’s an awesome way to sneak veggies into a sandwich, add to a salsa, mix into salad greens or finish off a plating. “A little goes a long way, they pack a real punch,” she says.
First Leaves is located at 431 Douglas Road in Whitinsville and accessible by appointment. Call 508-266-0305. “Check out my Facebook page at /First Leaves Family Farm LLC and leave me a message. Most of my clients like to order their products this way,” says Larissa.
First Leaves supplies microgreens to the following restaurants: Armsby Abbey and deadhorse hill in Worcester, Depot Street Tavern in Milford, UXLocale in Uxbridge, and Galliford’s at Southwick’s Zoon in Mendon.