Companies join forces to increase microgreen yields

TWO Woking companies are working together to produce nutritious and tasty microgreens for local families.

Eden Greens Urban Farm, run by the Carter family at their home in Mayford, started selling the edible plants to restaurants and caterers last year. Since the coronavirus lockdown, Ralph and Tracey Carter have been making free home deliveries to local families.

Peter Lennox from Kroptek, left, with Ralph and Tracey Carter with their microgreens being grown under LED lights

Kroptek, based in Goldsworth Road, make grow lights and the Carters bought some for one of their shelves of plants.

“We were very impressed with the huge increase in the yields,” Tracey said. “Their lights replace what you get from the sun. We’ve now ordered more lights and are doing a study to show just how much better they are than standard grow lights.”

She said the fact that Kroptek is a local company is important.

“They have been very helpful and they have great expertise; they really know what they are doing.”

Cecile Shrimpton from Kroptek said the company’s LED grow lights have several advantages over the standard type.

“They consume a lot less energy and are cold and so don’t damage plants,” Cecile said.

Microgreens can be eaten on their own or used to add flavour and texture to many dishes

“They also have a very broad spectrum and are the closest you can get to real sunlight.”

Cecile said that LED grow lights dramatically increase the yields of fully-grown plants such as tomato.

Microgreens are essentially baby plants, harvested just after the first embryonic leaves, known as cotyledon, appear.

They are small and full of flavour and often used as a garnish in high-end restaurants.

Recent studies have shown that microgreens are much more concentrated with nutrients than their mature counterparts. They are classed as a “superfood”, and are said to aid digestion, reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system. Other health benefits are said to include regulating cholesterol.

Tracey said her sons, Arron, seven, and Logan, three, are enthusiastic helpers and often eat the microgreens as snacks.

“They are sweet, crunchy and full of flavour. To be able to give your children all the vitamins in a snack is amazing.”

Tracey said they will probably continue the free home deliveries after the lockdown is eased because it is a good way to be involved in the community and helps to reduce food miles for local families.

“We harvest early in the morning and then Ralph makes the deliveries. Other than growing them yourself, you can’t get fresher. The greens you will be eating this afternoon will have been growing this morning.”

For more information, visit www.edengreens.co.uk  and www.kroptek.com.

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