Q. How can I purchase from Fresh Origins?
A. Our Products are only available from specialty produce distributors who provide them to professional fine dining food service venues. We do not sell direct to restaurants or individuals. If you are a professional chef interested in our products, please have your favorite produce distributor contact us. If you are interested in purchasing individual quantities, please click on the following sources of our products:
Q. What is a MicroGreen?
A. MicroGreens are a tiny form of edible greens produced from very young vegetable, herb or other plants. They range in size from 1 to 1.5 inches long, including the stem and leaves. Some Microgreens typically have the first set of partially opened or small fully opened true leaves as well. They are generally one to two weeks old when harvested.
Q. How are Microgreens used?
A. Having surprisingly intense flavors considering their small size, MicroGreens are used as a visual enhancement and flavor accent primarily in fine dining restaurants. These restaurants place a strong emphasis on both the creative presentation and flavor of their dishes. MicroGreens’ delicate, fresh appearance adds beauty and dimension combined with a range of distinct flavor elements.
Q. What is the best way to store MicroGreens prior to use?
A. MicroGreens and related items should be kept in Refrigeration at 38-40 degrees in a closed container. Basil is very sensitive to low temperatures and may turn dark brown or black within a few hours of exposure to temps below 32 degrees.
Q. How long can MicroGreens last once they have been harvested?
A. MicroGreens usually last at least 5-7 days if they are refrigerated at the right temperature. Depending on the variety, shelf life will vary. Some items can last up to two weeks.
Q. Why don’t you offer living microgreens?
A. Living MicroGreens are offered by some growers and are said to be fresher because they are cut as needed in the kitchen. There are a few reasons why this format has not been widely utilized. This method requires more packaging in terms of either bulky cardboard boxing or heavy plastic trays and growing medium. The result is an a much higher cost for a relatively small yield with lots of wasted packagings and growing medium. It is also more costly and is less efficient to deliver in this form, resulting in a higher carbon footprint and limited delivery range. The product may start out fresh and vibrant in the ideal growing conditions of a greenhouse, but once removed and put in a restaurant kitchen or cooler, the quality and flavor quickly declines. Outside of the greenhouse, they rapidly begin to get soft, stretched, as they lose color and flavor, though technically they are still alive, but not at all fresh. Cut microgreens shipped in lightweight plastic clamshell containers are less costly, use less packaging, and save time in the kitchen.
Q. What unique items does Fresh Origins grow compared to other growers?
A. At Fresh Origins, we create a steady stream of original innovations. The following items have not yet been duplicated and are not available from anywhere else:
MicroGreens: Micro Mustard DijonTM, Micro Carrot Fern LeafTM, Micro Mint Lavender™, Micro Cucumber™.
Petite™Greens: Petite™Basil Nutmeg™, Petite™Pumpkin Green™, Petite™Lavender.
A few more items Fresh Origins created and introduced to the culinary world are: Micro Intensity Mix™, Micro Mirepoix Mix™, Micro Iceplant, Micro Tangerine Lace™, Micro Wasabi, Micro Spectrum Mix™, Petite™Fava Leaf, Petite™Haricot Leaf™, Petite™Lucky Shamrock™, Petite™Amaranth Carnival Mix™, Petite™Stevia™, FireStix™(edible flower), MicroFlowers™, and Nature Straws™ (edible straws).
Q. What growing medium do you use?
A. We grow our products in peat moss (decomposed prehistoric moss plants). Peat moss is not soil and is known to be a very clean material.
Q. Are your products grown in greenhouses or outside?
A. The majority of our products are greenhouse grown.
Q. Where do you ship to?
A. We ship nationwide and to Canada and the Caribbean using overnight delivery services.
Q. Why don’t you sell direct to restaurants?
A. We let our distributors handle the selling and delivery, allowing us to concentrate on growing and harvesting the best possible product we can. Often this also saves on shipping costs.
Q. Are MicroGreens particularly high in nutritional value?
A. So far there is no conclusive evidence of this. It has become an urban legend that MicroGreens possess high concentrations of various nutritional and beneficial compounds. As people read and parrot the misinformation, it spreads. More and more people see the claims, and the myth just continues to snowball until it is accepted as fact by most people without any question.
Numerous articles and websites claim that MicroGreens are the latest nutritional miracle-food. The fact is, there have been no studies done on MicroGreens to substantiate any of these claims so at this point it is all just wishful thinking; new-age mumbo jumbo. No evidence of microgreens’ nutritional value means, the numerous claims have no scientific basis. It would of course be to our benefit to claim that MicroGreens are some kind of super-food. Most likely, MicroGreens actually have a lower nutritional value than full-sized vegetables and herbs.*
As a point of reference, some sprouts (which are not MicroGreens), have been said to contain particularly high concentrations of a certain chemo-protective compound, Sulphoraphane Glucosinolate (SGS), however the highest concentration of this is actually found in the seed. Since sprouts are consumed with the seed still attached, this may explain the presence of this compound in sprouts. If people feel they really want more of this compound, they should simply eat the seed to get the highest concentration. Of course, MicroGreens are not sprouts. MicroGreens are cut at the stem, and have no roots or seed attached so there would be no reason to think this compound exists in any particularly high amount. There have not been any studies done on microgreens to determine the presence of SGS or any other compound.
The USDA has weighed in on the situation: Although some research suggests a promising role for broccoli sprouts in promoting health, the research results do not permit definitive scientific conclusions on specific health benefits. At this time, the FDA has not reached any such conclusions or authorized any claims specifically for SGS or broccoli sprouts. There is no mention of microgreens as they were never included in any of these studies.
Regarding the nutritional value of sprouts, the USDA has listed the nutritional value of sprouts compared to full-sized broccoli. In summary, broccoli sprouts are significantly lower in nutritional value when compared to full-sized broccoli. Of note: the sprouts were lower in protein (1.4 mg compared to 2.324 mg.), fiber, Vitamin A (561 compared to 1,082.64 IU), Riboflavin (none found in sprouts compared to .043 mg.), Vitamin B-6 (.07 compared to .112 mg.), Vitamin C (20 compared to 58.188 mg), and Iron (.22 compared to .665 mg.).
One study said to support the idea that microgreens have more nutrition: USDA plant physiologist Dr. Gene Lester shows that younger spinach leaves generally have higher levels of vitamins C, B9 and K1, and the carotenoids (plant pigments with antioxidant action) lutein, violaxanthin, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene than more mature leaves (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, January 2010.) This study compares leaves from the same plant. In other words, he is saying that the younger leaves at the top of a full-grown spinach plant have higher levels of antioxidants than the older leaves at the bottom of the same plant. All of the leaves in this study came from large mature spinach plants and has no relevance to the nutritional value/antioxidant content of MicroGreens. It does not compare leaves from older plants with leaves from younger plants.
This relates to MicroGreens in that since sprouts which are the youngest form of broccoli have lower nutritional value than mature broccoli, it stands to reason that MicroGreens have lower nutritional value than their full-sized counterparts as well.
MicroGreens certainly have a lot of flavors considering their tiny size, however, they do have less flavor than their full-sized counterparts. The flavors definitely increase in vegetable and herb plants as they grow larger. It is logical to conclude that the nutritional value also increases as the plant matures.
People should not rely on unsubstantiated claims to make dietary decisions, nor should any company attempt to sell a product or book using these fake nutritional claims. Fresh Origins does not rely on unsubstantiated claims to sell its product.
If anyone makes the claim that MicroGreens are “packed with nutrition”, don’t take their word for it, ask for the nutritional analysis to back it up. If at some point there are reliable nutritional studies done on microgreens, and they do show high values, Fresh Origins will be very pleased to promote it.
*August, 2012. Finally the first ever study on MicroGreen’s nutrition has been carried out by researchers at the University of Maryland. The study set out to determine if MicroGreens have higher nutritional value than mature greens. While the results seem promising, there are some concerns with the study. The primary issue is that they did not do the analysis of the mature versions used for the comparisons with the microgreens. This comparison, of course, is the whole basis for making the claim that the MicroGreens are more nutritious than the mature versions. Instead, they relied upon data from analysis done by others probably a very long time ago, so it is unlikely the same methods of analysis could have been done. Some of the comparisons were not correct such as comparing one type of amaranth in the micro form to different type (and color) in the mature form. In addition, some of the items tested were not actually microgreens, but shoots. We are hoping there might be a future study done where there is first a clear definition of what MicroGreens are and that there would be nutritional analysis is done on both the MicroGreen and the mature leaf in the same study using the same methods, rather than relying on outside data and variable varieties to compare. The study is a welcome step in the right direction, but only the first step in understanding the nutritional value of MicroGreens.