Tiny, nutritious foods are sprouting up at farmers markets along the Space Coast and Treasure Coast.
Called microgreens, these small vegetable seedlings which are harvested at about 8 to 12 days after planting, are highly concentrated with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. They are said to contain up to 40 times the amount of vitamins and a broader spectrum of antioxidants compared to mature plants of broccoli, peas, radishes and other vegetables.
Inna Basanets, the owner-operator of Zesty Fox Farm in Indian River County, grows them using strictly all natural, chemical-free methods and distributes fresh to local farmers markets the same morning they are harvested.
Growing the tiny greens started out as a hobby for Basanets and has turned into a full-time business.
“The very first time I learned about microgreens was when I worked at a private golf club as a dining room manager. When I noticed these tiny colorful greens atop of entrees, I immediately wanted to try to grow them,” she said. “I am originally from Ukraine, where growing your own food was very important for my family.
“As I learned and perfected my growing techniques, I wanted to grow a lot more varieties and I decided to bring the microgreens I had grown to a local farmers market. At the very first farmers market, I sold out within the first two hours, and this is when I knew there was a demand for microgreens in my community. Within a few months of selling at the farmers market, I was approached by a chef with a request to grow certain microgreens for his restaurant. From this point on, I started to expand and broaden my customer base,” Basanets said.
Zesty Fox Farm now provides freshly grown microgreens to farmers markets, restaurants, golf clubs and grocery stores along the Treasure Coast and Space Coast.
“We are very excited to have recently become part of Viera East Farmers Market. Our team member Kelley McCollom-Egler and her daughter Julia Egler, 13, will be at the Zesty Fox Farm booth there on the second Saturday of every month with lots of varieties of microgreens and free samples,” Basanets said.
The Viera East Farmers Market is located at Woodside Park, at the corner of Crane Creek Boulevard and Murrell Road. The market takes place there the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It’s very easy to add microgreens to your daily diet as they can be used in place of lettuce in salads, sandwiches, wraps or burgers; you can throw them in green smoothies or make them into a tasty pesto; they can be used as a garnish on just about any dish — soup, pasta, eggs, fish and stir-fry. Microgreens powder is versatile and can be added to water bottles, used in salad dressings and as a replacement for salt or seasonings,” Basanets said. “They come with a huge variety of flavor, including spicy, peppery, sweet, nutty, licorice and earthy.”
Zesty Fox Farm has booths at the Brevard County Farmers Market at Wickham Park in Melbourne from 3 to 6 p.m. every Thursday and at the Satellite Beach Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Thursday. The Oceanside Farmers Market in Vero Beach also hosts the Zesty Fox Farms booth every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
For more information, visit zestyfoxfarm.com.