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On Your Mark, Get Set: Sprouting Forward

2011 May 24

by Brianna Bain

Sunflower-SproutsWhile there is not technically a finish line in sight, each RecipeRelay Handoff is a mini victory  in the world of seasonal and local goodness. Megan’s Lemony Ricotta and Pea Shoot Canapes certainly fall into the winning category, a truly inspiring Spring recipe that was an all too perfect Handoff for me. Serendipitously, I received Megan’s recipe  just as I returned from a local farm tour at Sun Grown Organics - a micro greens, sprout and wheatgrass farm here in San Diego and  Suzies’s Farm – a 60 acre organic farm that is part of  San Diego Growers, a Regional Food Hub.

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Megan’s use of pea shoots perfectly coincided with my visit to the Sprout farm – a sign I could not deny. So, I sprout forward into this week’s Relay! Now, just what kind of sprouts do I choose…? I do have some experience with sprouts, beginning with my mother who often snuck alfalfa sprouts into my sandwiches as a child. I am not sure if it was the taste that deterred me or that everyone at the lunch table thought I had worms in my lunch, 5th graders can be a tough crowd.  It wasn’t until high school that I really understood the amazing nutritional value of most sprouts, seems I needed to interpret their value beyond my adolescent taste buds and what others thought!

My relationship with sprouts really started to evolve once I had the chance to sample a wide variety within the context of a raw food diet. I worked for a raw food based, cleansing and health institute where we served sprouted lentils, fenugreek, and radish to help detoxify the body. Now, not all sprouts are created equal in flavor – they can vary from bitter, to spicy, to sweet and even nutty.  For me it was love at first taste when the mild, nutty flavor and irresistible texture of the sunflower sprout passed my lips!  Luckily for me Sun Grown Organics sprouts and packages these little babies fresh, saving me the sprouting time for this week’s recipe.

While sprouts maybe thought of as synonymous with Spring in many parts, they are actually available year round either by a local producer or yours truly – you! Sprouting is fun and easy and once you get the hang of it it’s not as mysterious as it seems. It’s about knowing your seed, timing and a little patience. With a little effort, a few glass jars, and cheese cloth or sprouting trays you can be sprouting in no time. It’s a great way to keep your diet fresh and green all year round while giving you a sweet kitchen window garden even in the dead of winter! If you are feeling inspired, here are some sprouting tips to help guide your curiosity.

After the tour of Sun Organics we headed down the road to the other arm of the business – Suzie’s Farm, where we walked the fields of squash, newly planted tomato, and lingering cool season crops. Here we gathered beets, turnips, kale and some bolting greens and herbs. Between my sprout inspiration and the mini gratis harvest at Suzie’s Farm I am more than ready to put together a Spring-y fresh meal.

Check back on Thursday to see what creation sprouts from my kitchen!

-Brianna

Brianna Bain is a Co-Founder and Editor of RecipeRelay.  She encourages you to get out and visit a local farm for some seasonal food inspiration!