Microgreens are a trending topic right now. These teeny-tiny greens are not just a passing trend, they’re being used by chefs in restaurants for their health benefits, their visual appeal, and their incredible taste. In fact, restaurant owners and chefs may be the biggest customers for microgreens right now.
Do Restaurants use Microgreens?
Yes, many restaurants are increasingly interested in microgreens and are using them in their dishes. These bite-sized shoots are actually quite versatile and can be used in a number of ways.
Chefs like to use microgreens to add taste and texture, incorporate color, and give visual appeal to their foods.
They are available in a wide array of flavor profiles ranging from sour, sweet, zesty, peppery, spicy, or licorice- depending on the parent vegetable. Microgreens tend to have a more concentrated flavor than fully grown vegetables.
Restaurants are also using microgreens because they are considered a superfood. After all, they are loaded with vital nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E as well as a number of minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
Why are Microgreens in demand?
Microgreens have become the new buzzword because they have several great qualities. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing and highly nutritious, but they are also super easy to grow and harvest. In fact, you can even grow them in the smallest spaces or simply on your windowsill.
This grow-your-own microgreens concept has really clicked with the majority of people. On top of that, they taste exceptionally good, which makes them especially appealing.
Microgreens are also being associated with clean and healthy eating. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR), microgreens are 40 times more nutritious compared to their mature counterparts.
As people are becoming more and more health-conscious, it makes sense for them to be highly interested in this particular food.
Why do Chefs use Microgreens?
So, why and how do chefs use microgreens in their culinary dishes? Here are the main ways microgreens are being used in restaurants:
1. Adding freshness to meat-dishes
Meat dishes are usually loaded with protein. Often, they are accompanied by rich, creamy sauces or salads. Chefs use microgreens to add additional textural elements and zingy flavors to the meat. Some popular combinations include stuffed chicken breast with a sprinkle of chive microgreens, parsley with fish, and rosemary with roasted beef.
2. Enhancing food with color
For the most top-rated chefs, presentation is as important as the taste of the dish. Bright, colorful microgreens, when paired with edible flowers can look extremely beautiful. Mixes of microgreens are also used to add a rainbow of color to dishes.
3. In salads, sandwiches, and soups
Microgreens seem to be a naturally perfect fit for salads, as they pair very well with their mature counterparts. Chefs often use microgreens in place of the actual vegetable to incorporate the same taste with an added punch. They also like to add microgreens in sandwiches and soups for some extra crunch.
Favorite Microgreens for Chefs & Restaurants
Let’s take a brief look at the most popular and highly demanded microgreens for restaurants right now.
Arugula: Arugala is a must-have microgreen for most chefs. It is easy to grow and find. Plus, it has a strong, peppery flavor that tastes amazing in salads and sandwiches.
Micro Sea Beans: This salty, crunchy, and juicy garnish is perfect for serving with fish.
Beets: These microgreens have an earthy, bitter flavor. Their bright red stems are used to give a bold, gorgeous look to an otherwise dull dish.
Carrots: With a subtly sweet flavor, carrot microgreens add a unique taste, texture, and visual appeal to a variety of dishes.
Micro-mint lime: With a hint of lime and a good dose of mint, these microgreens are a perfect addition to cocktails and soups.
Can you sell your fresh produce to restaurants?
If you’re growing microgreens at home, you can definitely check in with your local restaurants and offer to sell them your yield.
Many restaurants have a growing interest in microgreens and can be potential customers. You can reach out to numerous restaurants and explore your options.
How much do Chefs pay for Microgreens?
On average, the selling price for one pound of microgreens is around $25 to $40. Per one 1020 tray, the microgreens yield is generally 8-12 oz. This means you can earn about $12.5 – $18.8 for every tray of microgreens.
There is nothing wrong with charging chefs a higher price than what they are currently paying. This is because you will be supplying fresh produce straight after harvest, with a longer shelf life and less wastage.
Plus, many chefs like to support local farmers and promote themselves for using fresh, local ingredients. For this, they are often willing to pay a premium price.
How to sell Microgreens to Chefs and Restaurants?
When approaching a restaurant, make sure to set up a direct meeting with the restaurant chef. Only the chef can assess the worth of the microgreens, and whether his food will benefit from them.
Make sure to prepare some bags of fresh microgreens for sampling purposes. The chef would want to see them and taste them in person. They might also want to check their storage life, quality, and other aspects of the produce.
It would be useful to provide key information yourself. For instance, are your microgreens organic? How much can you supply, on a daily or weekly basis?
Finally, make sure to give relevant contact information, details of your available products, and your price list.
What are Microgreens?
Essentially, microgreens are little seedlings of edible plants and vegetables, that are harvested at a much earlier time- within a couple of weeks of planting them. These tiny greens can be grown in many varieties, textures, and colors.
Microgreens fall somewhere between a seedling and a baby vegetable. They are usually only 2-4 inches in height and are often called ‘vegetable confetti’ due to their tiny size and range of colors.
Some of the most popular microgreen varieties are pea, broccoli, sunflower, cucumber, beets, mustards, brussels sprouts, spinach, mint, basil, carrot, corn, celery, and fenugreek. There are more than 100 varieties of microgreens you can grow and eat.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.