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Microgreens are not Sprouts

It was announced yesterday that a salmonella outbreak has been linked to sprouts that were sold on sandwiches at Jimmy John’s.

Some consumers use the terms “sprouts” and “microgreens” interchangeably, but they are actually very different crops that are grown in very different ways.  At Finding Eminence Farm, we grow only micro greens, not sprouts. Since they are often so easily confused, we thought it was important to highlight the differences.  Even the Center for Disease Control posted on their facebook about this breaking news story about sprouts with an image of micro greens. Here are the main differences between micro greens and sprouts.

Sprouts:

  1. Sprouts are germinated in water. To prevent mold growth, they are rinsed one to two times per day
  2. Very little light and nutrition is needed for sprouts to grow
  3. They require high humidity to grow
  4. To ensure their safety, it is recommended that sprouts are cooked to prevent food borne illness since they are grown in dark, humid, and wet conditions (a perfect situation for icky stuff to grow)

Alfalfa sprouts from Johnny’s Seeds

Micro greens:

  1. Seeds germinate in peat moss or soil
  2. Plants require light and good air circulation, just like any other plants that are grown in- or outdoors
  3. The leaves and stems are eaten, but the seeds are not since they are in the soil

Three different varieties of microgreens grown at Finding Eminence Farm

On our farm, we compost our potting soil after each crop and then wash and sterilize our trays every week.  Seeds that are prone to fungal issues are soaked in a mixture of vinegar and food-grade hydrogen peroxide to prevent any possible issues before the seeds are sown.

If you really like sprouts, there are lots of countertop sprouting kits that you can purchase that would allow you to sprout seeds yourself and avoid buying from these mega producers.  We certainly wouldn’t recommend eating store-bought sprouts for the time being.  We’re jaded, but we think microgreens are better anyway.  We’ll just keep eating those on everything, and we’d encourage you to do the same.

You can purchase our microgreens at Green Top Grocery. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement about Chris teaching a class at Green Top Grocery about microgreens too.