For Vertical Harvest employees, microgreens aren’t just an occasional addition to a dish. They are a way of life. Our team truly couldn’t function without these tiny stalks of flavor and freshness. We queried folks from the greenhouse, job support, and the corporate office. They all delivered insights on ways to incorporate microgreens into everyday meals. We hope these easy ideas provide you with kitchen inspiration, and serve to make microgreens a delicious and healthy staple in your home.

Kyra Foley, Marketing Coordinator
I sprinkle Dr. Feel Good on top of my avocado toast in the morning for an easy to-go breakfast!

Kyle Burson, Administrative Assistant
I use our microgreen blends in all my stir-fries.

Caroline Croft Estay, Director of Diversity & Inclusion
I grab a handful of Spicy Mix to get my day going. I also am known to use them in my craft cocktails. 

Taylor Eckerson, Project & Executive Coordinator
I love using Spicy Mix in my veggie pho dishes!

Emily Peterson, Sales Director
I add mustard microgreens and mustard frills to bratwurst and burgers – YUM!

Jules Brune, DD Waiver Job Support
I use our wasabi microgreens when making sushi rolls. I also sprinkle a variety of greens on top of soups and blend Dr. Feel Good and other mixes into smoothies to rev them up. 

Lyndsay Rowan, Grow Well & Outreach Coordinator
I add the Citrus Blend to my morning smoothies…and always load microgreens onto tacos!!

Hannah Bouline, Microgreen Manager
I riff off the NYT cooking recipe for Indian-ish Baked Potatoes with whatever I have available and then load it up with Spicy Mix! I especially love putting the Spicy Mix on sweet potatoes for the flavor contrast.

Amanda Macfarlane, Farm Associate
Instead of horseradish sauce on prime rib, I put Spicy Mix or Wasabi micro on it! Delicious.

Cathy Bradberry, Job Support
I slice a loaf of french bread or ciabatta in half the long way. Then, butter both sides and sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian herbs. I add fresh parsley, freshly diced Vertical Harvest tomatoes and sliced mozzarella. Then, I bake it until the cheese melts and top it off with ANY of our fresh microgreens. Soooooo good….

Buy your weekly Microgreen bundle from our online store today!

Chef Alejandra Peña nibbles a small green leaf and the spark in her eyes is unmistakable. Her customers at Persephone Westbank will soon find a similar tiny stalk in their morning granola bowl. “They’ll be surprised at the pop of citrus with their oats and yogurt,” she says with a smile. “ Tangerine cress is something people haven’t experienced as a taste before and it is really exciting to use microgreens like these in unexpected ways.” 

It’s a fun day at the farm when a chef stops by our greenhouse. Geeking out over a microgreen’s flavor profile rings deeply sincere coming from the person who places it precisely on the plate. “Seeing the colors, tastes and textures helps me brainstorm my menus with something that is very tangible,” says Peña. “This is such a different experience than looking at a product list because being in the greenhouse and talking through the flavors with the growers helps the dish in my head come to life.”

Since our inception, Vertical Harvest Farms has had a special relationship with the chefs of Jackson, WY.  The farm works closely with chefs to grow micro and petite greens specifically curated to each restaurant’s menus. Chefs are welcome to book time to come and “shop” the greens with the Vertical Harvest grow and sales teams.

“It’s satisfying to see the look in chefs eyes when we sample a new green with them. We always do a deep dive into how the flavors and textures can make other ingredients come alive,” says Hannah Bouline, Product Manager.

On her recent greenhouse visit, Peña was preparing for Persephone Westbank’s new 5-9 pm dinner service, which just started on June 17, 2021.  She tasted radish microgreens, mustard frills, rock chive, and red veined sorrel. While the sorrel and tangerine cress are already breakfast and lunch menu staples, she’s excited to play with the mustard frills for the dinner menu. 

According to Peña, It’s important to have microgreens and petite greens that she can use for breakfast, lunch, and dinner but still have very different flavors and textures throughout the day. “Our goal is to avoid waste and use the freshest product possible.”

The overall vibe of the new dinner menu is fresh, floral, and citrus like a French bistro, she says. “We’ll offer vegan dinner options and provide an experience that is casual and kid-friendly with a specific kid’s menu. I don’t want anything to be too heavy, but instead have the entire family leave feeling like they could really enjoy the dishes and not be too full.”

Peña’s plan is to pair Vertical Harvest’s red veined sorrel with dishes such as salmon tartine and use the tangerine cress across many dishes on the menu. She also hopes to make Vertical Harvest edible flowers a key part of the restaurant’s cocktail program. 

She is most excited about the ½ roasted chicken with seasonal vegetables. “It’s so juicy and has a light yet flavorful cardamom glaze,” she says. “I’m so excited for everyone to try it!” 

A group of Vertical Harvest team members visited opening night and were impressed with the atmosphere and the food. “It was so lovely to enjoy the light, yet flavorful, food on a warm afternoon,” said Emily Peterson, Sales Director. “The cocktails were spot on and I loved the salmon tartine with its pop of citrus supplied by the red veined sorrel.  The menu perfectly balances rich dimensions of flavor without being too heavy. Even the usually deep and earthy ratatouille had a fresh essence.”

Try the chicken, salmon tartine, and other wonderful new dinner menu items yourself this season. Dine at Persephone Westbank at 3445 N Pines Way in the Aspens, Wilson WY. Learn more about our produce right here on our website!

Photo of Chef Alejandra Peña by Lindley Rust

 

Late last year, we shared our story on how Vertical Harvest is reducing food waste through composting and new packaging. As we continue to strive to do better, we invite you to join us. 

It’s not just a good idea — it truly is a global imperative. Why?

Well, did you know: 

  • More than 1/3 of all food produced globally goes to waste.*
  • The annual value of food wasted globally is $1 trillion, and it weighs 1.3 billion tons.*
  • If food waste were a country it would be the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases (after China & the USA).*
  • Reducing food waste is the #1 solution to the climate crisis, according to Project DrawDown – coming above electric cars, solar power and plant-based diets.*

While these statistics may sound overwhelming, you can make a difference by adjusting your habits. To help you along, we’ve developed three simple tips below. Whether you compost with Haderlie Farms or through the county-wide compost system (located at recycling centers) these tips will help you properly dispose of Vertical Harvest packaging and product waste. 

  1. Vertical Harvest “live green” products — meaning those that come on growing medium or with their roots — are fully compostable. Every element can go straight into the compost pile.
  2. Our microblend packaging (Spicy Mix, Citrus Blend, Pea Shoots, Farm Blend, and Dr. Feel Good) is made by Good Natured and is fully compostable through Haderlie and Teton County. Be sure to remove the label before composting.
  3. Our petite green packaging (larger packs for our lettuces) is not currently compostable but we are working on it. For now, try to reuse this packaging for packing your lunches or storing food in your fridge.

Thanks in advance for joining us in this mission!

*Food Waste Facts from Olio. Read more about Olio and the company’s mission here.

Vertical Harvest Citrus Blend on Sardine Toast

Vertical Harvest Citrus Blend on Sardine Toast

These tasty mouthfuls are a notch above your classic bruschetta — with the addition of salty sardines, and replacing basil with our zippy Citrus Blend. The recipe below makes 8 servings, so you’ll need to adjust up depending on the size of your gathering or the hunger of your guests!

Ingredients

  • 8 thick slices of crusty sourdough baguette
  • 2 garlic gloves, halved
  • Softened butter, as needed
  • Pack of Vertical Harvest Teton Tomatoes (cherry tomatoes), sliced into thirds
  • 2 cans sardines (6 to 7 ounces), deboned to taste
  • 1/2 small sweet or red onion, thinly sliced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Vertical Harvest Citrus Blend

Instructions

  • Step One — Toast the bread under a broiler (on both sides) or in a toaster.
  • Step Two — While the toast is still warm, immediately rub it (aggressively!) with the cut side of the garlic clove, then spread toast generously with butter. Top butter with tomato slices and lightly salt them.
  • Step Three — Top tomatoes with with sardines and then onion slices. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, then season with more salt and pepper. Garnish liberally with Citrus Blend and serve immediately.

Get fresh inspiration for your kitchen creations with our 4 new Crisp Cuisine boxes. Each comes with recipe ideas and the perfect fresh mix of produce. Buy individually or purchase a 4-week subscription and try them all.

Watch for a series of recipes using these products right here on the blog.

1. Taste of Tuscany Box
Zesty and herb-forward, the Taste of Tuscany box is the perfect starter kit for Italian-inspired meals. Unpack the fresh basics for a great pasta or just about any dish that begs for a pesto or tomato sauce. Includes:

  • 1 Pint Tomatoes
  • 1 Pea Shoots
  • 1 Rev It Up Mix

2. Bao Bao Box
Crunchy and spicy, the Bao Bao box contains just the right mix of zippy greens to enliven Asian-inspired entrees. Add crisp to your ramen or pep up a stir fry with a kick of mustardy wasabi. Includes:

  • 1 Bao Bao Blend
  • 1 Spicy Mix
  • 1 Micro Wasabi

3. Teton Classic Box
The Teton Classic Box offers the ingredients you need to craft the consummate side salad or add a fresh finish to a burger or piled-high sandwich. Simple, yet versatile, this box helps you cover all your meal bases. Includes:

  • 1 Pint Tomatoes
  • 1 Citrus Blend
  • 1 Vibrant Mix

4. Thrive Box
Bursting with vitamins and superfood vibes, the Thrive Box provides greens with a power boost. Add Beet Power or Dr. Feel Good to smoothies or soups, and use the live lettuce for the freshest base to any and every dish. Includes:

  • 1 Beet Power
  • 1 Dr. Feel Good
  • Butterhead Lettuce Heads

Daikon microgreen is our February microgreen of the month. It’s the green that adds the biggest zip to our Spicy Mix and certainly ranks near the top as a customer favorite. It may be a slight exaggeration, but it also seems that just about every piece of sushi sold in Jackson is topped with our Daikon.

The Vertical Harvest Daikon microgreen is the early growth stage of a daikon radish — the long, white radish used in lots of Asian cooking. They have lofty white stems and green leaves (see photo above). With thicker stems than many of their sister microgreens, Daikon adds a satisfying crunch that few others can deliver. Their flavor also offers the same spicy bite of a full grown radish. Talk about a mighty microgreen!

Daikon Microgreens in Cooking

We love growing them because they are one of our fastest growing crops. Johnny Fifles, our senior Farm Associate, says it is his favorite microgreen and Hannah Bouline, our Farm Lead can’t get enough of Daikon in her own cooking. “I love spicy food, so I can eat them on just about everything, but my favorite is to put a big pile on a baked sweet potato (a little spicy, a little sweet),” she says.

Great in salads (of course), in cold soups, and as a burger topper, Daikon microgreens also show off their creative side in dishes like this Summer Daikon Rolls With Avocado and Microgreens recipe from One Green Planet. With a double dose of Daikon (both the adult radish and the microgreen), these rolls are a mouth full of peppery, zesty freshness.

 

Try this creamy and delicious new spin on pesto with our fresh pea shoots.  It provides a perfect base for a pesto pizza or delights when poured over pasta. Makes 2 to 2-1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, raw or toasted
  • 3 cups pea shoots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan OR Teton Tomme cheese (from Winter Winds Farm)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. To toast the walnuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnuts on baking sheet and roast until golden, about 10 minutes. Check by letting them cool and then breaking a walnut in half. The inside should be golden all the way through.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine walnuts, pea shoots, Teton Tomme cheese and garlic. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add salt to taste. With motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Blend until well-combined and you reach your desired thickness. Scrape pesto into a bowl and use immediately, or store in a jar with a thick covering of olive oil and use within three days. You can also freeze in ice cube trays.

 

Chris Hogberg, Vertical Harvest Jackson General Manager, gives you a peek behind the curtain to what work life is like in our beautiful Wyoming greenhouse. Chris joined Vertical Harvest on a consulting basis three years ago and now oversees the day-to-day operations of our grow team. Chris has a background in construction and as a chef. He also ran an artisan hummus business before joining our team. Let’s dive in:

  1. Blog Team: Why do the carousels in the greenhouse spin? Can you give us a bit more info on the carousels?
    Chris: The spinning is for a couple of reasons. First, it helps to maximize the amount of light the plants receive. So, they constantly rotate to help distribute that light intake. The second reason is ergonomics. The carousel brings the crops directly to the farmers tending them, whether it be for seeding, planting or harvesting. It helps to reduce bending over. So, by design, it helps farming be more accessible to a diverse range of farmers. The carousels were custom made by a Dutch company called Codema and Vertical Harvest is the only place that has a functional version of this model. However, this type of carousel is a challenge to keep running, so we will be simplifying to a more traditional (yet also custom and accessible) conveyor rack system in future greenhouses.
  2. Blog Team: Which engineering aspect of VH is the most crucial to keeping production running?
    Chris: Our water system is most crucial. It contains a solution fertilized with phosphate, potassium, and nitrogen that feeds the plants. In the peak part of the day, our microgreens and petite greens get watered every 1.25 hours and the lettuce every 15 minutes, so if we run out of fertilizer or a pump goes down you’ll notice the plants drooping quite a bit. Water is really the life-blood of a hydroponic greenhouse because you have little to no soil for water retention. Water passes right over the roots of the plant in a continuous, recycled flow. If that stops, you have problems.
  3. Blog Team: What is unique about the VH building compared to other greenhouses or farms?
    Chris: It is the combination of being a glass greenhouse and being a vertical farm. Greenhouses are usually one-story and rectangular and most vertical farms are tall, but enclosed, like a warehouse. We are unique in that we are vertical, but we utilize natural light. And, because of our striking glass building, we have become a community fixture that adds to the architectural beauty of the urban landscape.
  4. Blog Team: What changes and company growth have most impressed you over the past 5 years?
    Chris: It’s so amazing to see the personal growth of everyone on the staff. None of us had a background in hydroponic farms, but we’ve each brought our very different skill sets to the accidental farmer mindset. Now, after trial and error, we really know what we are doing! But our different perspectives and abilities still help us to bring creative solutions to everyday issues. It’s personally very satisfying.
  5. Blog Team: In your experience, how does the Vertical Harvest mission play into your day-to-day work life?
    Chris:
    The atmosphere is always one of joy, which is not what you usually find in a lot of workplaces. And, I think a lot of that really is due to the social component. People believe in what we do here — growing people as well as plants — so we all come to work with smiles on our faces. It is really contagious. It lends itself to people being driven and producing even more high-quality work. Our team takes a deep sense of pride in what we do here to push the business forward. 

Get ready to get creative in your kitchen.

Our Winter Farm Share features your favorite microgreens, a taste of some exciting new petite green blends, a hint of edible flowers, plus tasty tomatoes and lettuce now and then.

  • Look for our crunchy new Asian Bao Bao Blend in your January 15 Box. Mixing Chinese cabbage, tatsoi, pak choi, and leaf broccoli,  these petite and crispy delights are named for the Chinese word for “baby” or “precious treasure.” Toss them in any salad or slaw, top your sushi, or blend them into a dip.
  • Your January 22 Box will include the zesty new Rev It Up Mix featuring Toscano and purple kale, arugula, and sorrel. Tender and zippy all in one bite, this savory salad blend barely needs dressing — it’s that flavorful! You decide what veggies to add and this mix will provide the peppery punch.
  • Get ready for a powerful new superfood blend at the end of the month in your January 29 Box. That’s when Beet Power will premier. You can’t beat this mix of beet greens, Toscano kale, and broccoli as an addition to smoothies, or a power boost to any creamy soup. Plus, we recommend this snappy blend as a hands-down best topper to avocado toast.

You’ll see more of these petite green blends throughout your (6 or 8 week — you choose!) Winter Farm Share, along with the mighty microgreen mixes you’ve come to know and love: Dr. Feel Good, Spicy Mix, Citrus Blend, Vertical Vibrant, and more. Your January 15 and February 12 boxes will include our edible flowers, so have your recipe books and/or cocktail shakers on stand by.

One of our most popular (and pretty) microgreens is citrusy Red-Veined Sorrel. We harvest it at the baby leaf size so it is super tender and at the perfect stage to use directly as a garnish. (FYI — if it’s grown to full size, you need to cook it like spinach). Purchase Red-Veined Sorrel in our Citrus Blend mix in grocery stores, or as a single crop on the Slow Foods marketplace

The Many Uses of Red-Veined Sorrel

Sorrel’s bright, lemony tang adds a touch of zest to cooked dishes as well as raw salads, and can also elevate your average vodka-based cocktail. It works like a squeeze of lemon on fish, but is so versatile and tasty that you can blend it into a sauce; cook it into soup, sautée it with other leafy greens; or even use it to top off a tart (download our Mighty Microgreen Handbook for a fabulous strawberry chocolate tart recipe using Sorrel). 

Burritos and Sushi Too

A customer even told us about adding Red-Veined Sorrel to a veggie burrito in place of lettuce. She lines the tortilla with this delightfully bold microgreen before plopping on black beans, brown rice, shredded cheese, diced red pepper and avocado. 

One more simple (yet brilliant) way to use Sorrel is as a citrusy topper to sushi. Add one vibrant leaf to the top of tuna, salmon, or really ANY nigiri or sashimi dish for an added pop.

Last but not least — red veined Sorrel is red and green, so it’s perfect for our December/holiday microgreen of the month! 

Microgreen Fun Fact: Embryonic leaves (cotyledons) of Red-Veined Sorrel are fully green, so unlike many microgreens that are harvested at this baby stage, we let the RV Sorrel develop its first set of “true leaves” that have the red coloring.