Category Archives: Inchworm Microgreens

Westside Farmers Market: Year in Review

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Inchworm Bakery Peach Cobbler with cinnamon buttermilk biscuit topping (yummy)

It was another good year at the Westside Farmers Market. I know everyone talks up their market, but the Westside is the best.

This year the market had some great new additions.

Corridor Sausage Co
Featuring a variety of pork, chicken, beef and lamb sausages

Hand Sown Farm 
Offering a great variety of fresh veggies

I hope they are back next season.

Inchworm Microgreens and Bakery Recap:

Baked Good:

All Made with Organic Flour, Organic Butter, Organic sugar, Organic eggs, Organic spices and fresh local fruits and berries

Rhubarb Pie
Rhubarb Scones
Short cakes
Cinnamon Cakes
Blueberry Pie
Raspberry pie
Sweet and Sour Cherry Pie
(Finally bought a cherry pitter, was hand pitting for hours)
Peach Pie
Peach Cobbler
Slider Buns
Olive Oil Bread
Smoked Sea Salt Chocolate Cookies
Fresh Ginger Oatmeal Cookies

Veggies:
Sunflower Sprouts
Pea Shoots
Potatoes
(Yukon Gold, Kennebeck, Pontiac red, California White, Yellow Finn)
Oyster Mushroom Kits

I was hoping for a Winecap mushroom harvest and better potato yield.

Next Years Plan

Potatoes (5-10 varieties)
Oyster Mushroom and Mushroom Kits
Sprouts and tray grown baby greens
Fruit Pies
Cookies
And…. Savory pies (Meat and greens and cheese)

I have been hooked on these meat and greens and cheese filled pies that they sell at the Middle Eastern grocery near me. They are affordable and ready to eat for a quick lunch. And they keep in a frig for a few days.

I want to make and sell them next year for the Farmers Market

This will require the use of a commercial kitchen, which will take some work arrange, but I love the idea of offering meat filled pies like using Corridor sausages and making greens and cheese with the seasonal fresh greens like spinach, arugula, broccoli, kale, chard, collard, beet greens or what is in season.

See You Next Season!!!!

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Inchworm Micrgreens and Pie

Today’s offerings at the Westside Farmers Market today from 3:00-7:00PM are:

Cinnamon Cake: A coffee cake with a cinnamon and sugar swirled inside

Rhubarb Pie: Local rhubarb, all butter crust

Both made with organic sugar, org flour, org eggs, rbgh free butter (tilimook)

Pea Shoots and Sunflower Shoots

Grown in organic soil

Sunflower seeds are organic pea are natural from Johnny Seeds

Wine Cap Mushrooms: At The Westside Farmers Market 2011

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As most know, this was my first year at the farmers market. We offered micogreens, and baked goods (pocket pies, focaccia bread, cinnamon cake, and more). With my first year under my belt, the thought is about next year. And those thoughts are on Mushrooms.

Easygrow sells a number of mushroom kits at the AA Farmers Market. The picture above shows a kit for Winecap Mushrooms, which are a large mushroom like portabella, but boost a better flavor.

Also in the works are some mushrooms grown on logs. The plan is to grow shittake. I want to offer a third, but I have not decided on the variety.

Some mushrooms like mitake can take two years to fruit. The idea is to have the mushrooms ready for sale next summer.

Easygrow also sells morrel kits, which can be hit or miss and take up top two years to fruit too, but I just have to get a few and see.

Winecap growing procedure:

1) Find fresh oak wood chips (call around to area tree services)
2) Find a shady spot, about 4 x 8 feet
3) Spread a thick layer of newspaper, and lightly wet down
4) Layer a 2-3 inch layer of wood chips on the paper
5) tare off some balls from the starter kit, and place on the wood chips every 8-12 inches apart in rows, using a diamond pattern off centering them from row to row
6) wet down, and add another layer of chips and wet down some more
7) If using two bag (kits), seed another layer
8) top again with another 2-4 inches of chips
9) spray the whole pile down
10) cover with some straw (helps with moisture)
11) Place a short fence around it to keep out critters like skunks that like to dig up the pile (optional)
12) let sit over winter or start in the early spring for a fall harvest

Enjoy the Harvest

Here are pictures of the process for growing winecaps

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First Layer: Thick layer of Wet Newspaper and fresh oak wood chips

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Pile of fresh oak wood chips, about 2-4 yards

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First layer of chips

More pictures coming!!!

I got so busy hauling wheelbarrows of wood chips that I forget to take the pics of the finished bed.

Update: Here is a picture of the finished mushroom bed minus the straw.

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Inchworm Microgreens: Lessons learned in my First Year

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The picture above shows several nice trays of microgreens growing. But there seemed to be some new challenge and lesson every week of my first season as a microgreen farmer.

-Poor germination
-poor drainage in trays until I cut more holes in the bottom
-Buying the wrong seed
-dealing with rain
-dealing with heat, and frying a few batched of trays with the plastic lid covers
-varieties that flopped like lentil, chic pea, and corn shoots
-trying a supposedly fail proof indoor system that failed
-Then there were the chipmunk attacks
-And even when I had a bumper crop, a rainy day at the market resulted in slow sales

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I set up a fence to protect my microgreen trays from deer and wood chucks, but I never thought about chipmunks. They can get in anywhere, and they love sunflower seeds. The real problem is that they like to dig around in the trays, and once they uncover the seeds, the seeds dry up and die. They ruined a weeks worth of trays.

I set up this system of a brick frame with some hardware clothe on top, and bricks on top. If you are more of handy person than me, you could build a wood frame. Once the seeds sprout to about an inch they are safe because the chipmunks only seem to like the seeds, and not the sprouts.

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This system is also great for sprouting seed starts outside. Stadium Hardware sells hardware clothe by the foot/yard.

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Sugar Beet Starts

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Wheatgrass: Inchworm Microgreens Farm

I have been posting this week about dandelion greens, and nettles tea. Both are a Spring perennials that impart health benefits and nutrition. And they are local to many regions in the US. Part of the eating local food conversation for me is to figure out ways to provide our basic nutritional needs, and that includes herbs and supplements. One such possible locally available supplement is wheatgrass. It can be grown in trays like shown above for fresh juicing. A special wheatgrass juicer is needed to make juice. A home blender will not work (trust me). The standard serving is a one ounce (shot) of juice. Some people drink it everyday or even three times a day during a cleansing program.

The price for an ounce of juice in a juice bar can range from $2.00-3.00. A standard size tray of wheatgrass will provide 8-12 ounces, and even more if you let the trays grow again for a second cutting. A third cutting can be tried, but that in my opinion is pushing it.

Why consume wheatgrass juice?

Long time raw foods health advocate Ann Wigmore claimed that wheatgrass juice cleanses and builds our blood:

  • improves skin and hair,
  • builds muscle and endurance
  • fights infections,
  • lowers blood pressure,
  • dissolves tumors,
  • acts as an appetite suppressant.

From wikipedia: Wheatgrass

None of these claims has been substantiated in the scientific literature, though there is some evidence in support of the beneficial effects of chlorophyll in the human diet.

As the chlorophyll molecule is structurally similar to hemoglobin, it has been argued that wheatgrass helps blood flow, digestion and general detoxification of the body. These claims have not been substantiated. However, some research exists that relates diets high in chlorophyll, present in higher concentrations in green leafy vegetables, to lower rates of colon cancer.

Where can you get wheatgrass?

It can be found in small trays at the health food store or sometimes at your local farmers market. If your Co-op or health food store does not carry it, request they do. You can also make arrangements to get trays through a local grower.

Inchworm Microgreens Farms offers full and half tray for $12/$6, locally in Ann Arbor, Michigan. If you are interest in reserving a tray contact me:

Inchworm MicroGreens Farm Update: CSA Information

Owner: Brian Steinberg
Phone:

Email:

Season: June 3 – Sept 9
Pick-up: Thursday 4:00-7:00PM at the Westside Farmers Market in Ann Arbor in the Zingerman’s Roadhouse parking area
Cost: Full share $180, Half share $90
Cost per week: $12 Full/$6 half
Total number of Membership: 50 full shares or 100 half shares
Growing Practice: Organic Practices: Use of Organic soil and amendments, and use of organic seed when available
Please Email me to request a membership sign up form.

What is in a share?: A full share consists of a Full standard size grow tray (11 x 22 inch) of Microgreens. The picture above shows full trays of Pea Shoots, and Sun flower shoots. Half shares consist of one (11 x 11 inch) size trays of Microgreens. Members can choose two half trays to make a full share.

What types of Microgreens are offered: Pea Shoots, Sunflower Shoots, and Wheat Grass are the standard offerings, and available each week. I will also feature basil, cilantro, radish and various other microgreens, with availability announced in the CSA Newsletter throughout the season. This is our first years, so I will be growing a lot test trays.

Can I customize my share?: Yes. Membership shares can be customized. There is a place on the sign up form where members can specifically request which variety of microgreens they want for each pick-up. For example a member can requested all pea shoots for the entire season, or all wheat grass. Another option can be peas shoots one week, and sunflower the next. I am very flexible, and only need a two week lead time to accommodate ongoing share requests. But I do prefer requests up front in the beginning of the season from the sign up form.

Do I have to sign up for the entire season, or can I sign up for a flexible CSA membership consisting of specific pick-ups?: Members can sign up for as little as one week, or a specific number of weeks, and even specific pick up dates during the 15 week season from June 3-Sept 9.

Can I get a double share (two full, or four half trays) or more?: Yes. Members can sign up for as many as they like. They can even increase their share (another half or full tray) during the season.

Can Members decrease their shares from Full to half during the season?: I prefer that members stick it out with the membership they signed up for. Members can always donate or trade their share to friends. When I was a CSA member, I would donate veggies my family did not like to appreciative neighbors. With that said, I ask at least a two week lead time with any changes.

If I cannot make a pick up can I get a refund?: Sorry, but no. I suggest having a friend pick up the tray. Trays are started 2-4 weeks in advance for members, and once started I and the member is lock into that tray for pick-up. Microgreens, unlike say storage crops, have a short shelf life, which means that once started, me, the farmer most likely cannot find another home for the tray. My policy is more flexible than most CSA which commit members for the entire season without options. If you know you will be out of town, I suggest sign up for a custom CSA share.

What do I do with the tray(s) after I harvest my Microgreens?: Members are asked to return the tray with the soil during their next pick-up. I reuse the trays, and compost the soil to grow more Microgreens. I require a $10 refundable tray deposit with CSA Members, which they will get back when they return all of their for their last pick-up.

Can I order more trays before and after the 15 week CSA season dates?: I may have more microgreens available possibly into October and even November depending on the weather. I will be running a few test tray before the season and may some some available. I will provide updates on this site, and in the newsletter with extended season news.

Can I request a special custom tray of a variety that you currently do not offer?: Yes. Like I mentioned, I will be doing a number of test this year, and I encourage requests for microgreen varieties. Special requests will take some lead time to find and order seed, and to start a tray.

I am a restaurant, school, hospital, Co-housing development, or planning an large event. Do you take large orders, and what about delivery?: Restaurant and large orders are welcomed and encouraged. I prefer that trays are pick-up at the regular Westside Farmers Market date and times. Special arrangements can be made if that is not an option.

What is the story behind Inchworm Microgreens Farm? How did you become the microgreens farmer we know and love?: I have been gardening for 10 years, and I love to share the food that I grow. The thought was to buy a farm one day in the future, but I have been thinking of what I could do now. The opportunity happened with microgreeens. I was traveling last summer, which meant that for the first time in years, I was not able to have a garden. When I got back into town, I still wanted to grow something, and I discovered microgreens. I started a few trays late last season, and featured them at the Home Grown Festival, at Bona Sera Secret Super Club and Tammy’s Tastings in Ann Arbor. The positive response inspired me to start my Microgreen farm and offer a CSA.

Inchworm Microgreens: From The Home Grow Festival

Ann Arbor FoodFirst off I want to say thanks to everyone who stopped by the Inchworm Microgreens table. I did my best to tempt you with fresh cut pea shoot microgreens and micro cilantro. Marsella pictured here on the left from Project Grow was our first ever customer. She is shown here posing with a two ounce bag of pea shoots.

I also want to thank Jeff McCabe who invited me to present my microgreens at the Home Grown Festival.

This was the first time I sampled my microgreens to anyone other than my family. There were a few surprises. The first was that people did not know how to eat pea shoots.  They asked me if they ate them whole. “Yes. Just like sprouts,” I said. The pleasant surprise was that kids love pea shoots. Some were shy about trying them, but were pleasantly surprised how sweet the pea shoots were. I had a young child circle back with his mom to have her by a bag for himself. I took this as a great sign considering I had competition from plenty of great food venders, especially Sweet Gem Confections my favorite Chocolatier.  Nancy Biehn of Sweet Gem traded a bag of pea shoots for two truffles, a peach and a raspberry.

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FYI, anyone interested in trading microgreens for hand made chocolate or other handcrafted, tasty items, I am game.

I stayed at the table must of the night, but I was able to walk the festival a little. I had a great slice of pizza from Silvios Organic Pizza. It had blueberries and blue cheese. There were other food venders like The Grange Kitchen and Bar.

There was live music and a wine and beer tent. I really enjoyed the set up and thought it would be great if the Saturday Farmer Market had live music, more prepped food venders and a tent set up with chairs and tables for eating.

My favorite picture of the night was the Peeps

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