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Micro Chickweed is comprised of 2 to 4 small leaves attached to a slender stem, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in length, and the leaves bear an oval to oblong shape with tapered, pointed tips. The dark green leaves are smooth with even curved edges and faint surface veining and have a soft, pliable, but sturdy texture. The leaves are also attached to pale green stems, contributing to the microgreen’s crisp, succulent, and tender consistency. Micro Chickweed contains a fresh, slightly sweet, earthy, and grassy flavor, similar to the mild taste of corn silk.
Micro Chickweed is available year-round.
Micro Chickweed consists of young, edible seedlings that are a part of a line of specialty microgreens grown by Fresh Origins Farm in San Diego, California. The small, crisp leaves are a modern twist on the mature herb chickweed and were selected by Fresh Origins for their mild, delicate flavor. Chickweed is botanically a part of the Stellaria genus, and among foragers throughout Europe and North America, wild chickweed plants are often labeled as “nature’s microgreen.” Chefs have utilized the wild green for centuries as a grassy flavoring, but the micro version elevates the perspective of chickweed and encourages chefs to reinvent how the herb is used. Micro Chickweed is generally harvested 1 to 2 weeks after sowing to ensure optimal freshness and flavor. Chefs use the mild leaves as an unexpected, edible garnish in savory dishes, and the greens provide an added layer of texture and flavor. Micro Chickweed can be placed individually on small plates as a procured garnish, or a handful of the microgreens can be quickly sprinkled across larger preparations for enhanced flavor, visual appeal, and textural depth. In addition to being featured as a microgreen, Micro Chickweed is also offered as a Petite® Green, a slightly larger, more mature version with a stronger flavor and texture.
Micro Chickweed is a good source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation. The greens are also a source of calcium to protect bones and teeth, vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, and zinc, iron, riboflavin, and thiamin. In European folk medicines, herbalists use more mature versions of chickweed as a tea to cleanse the digestive tract and combine the leaves with other ingredients into a topical cream to reduce skin irritations. It is important to note that the vitamins and minerals are found primarily within the leaves and not in the stems of the microgreens. Growing conditions also significantly impact the nutritional content, and Fresh Origins cultivates their microgreens in a natural setting, an ideal climate for healthy, optimal greens.
Micro Chickweed is best used fresh as an edible garnish for savory, hot and cold preparations. The microgreens provide subtle crispness to dishes as a textural element and are traditionally added at the end of cooking as a finishing touch to prevent the leaves from wilting. Micro Chickweed can be tossed into salads, layered into sandwiches and wraps, piled over bruschetta, or sprinkled over pasta, soups, curries, and stews. The microgreens can also be gently folded into egg salad, used as a garnish over chickweed pie and casseroles, or strewn across stir-fries for a fresh pop of flavor. In addition to using the microgreens whole, Micro Chickweed can be incorporated into pesto, blended into salsa verde, or combined into salad dressings for a mild, vegetal taste. Micro Chickweed pairs well with citrus, meats such as pork, poultry, and fish, spring vegetables including asparagus, peas, and ramps, tomatoes, and burrata cheese. The microgreens will generally keep 5 to 7 days when stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
In Japan, chickweed is considered one of the seven wild herbs of spring and is traditionally incorporated into Nanakusa no Sekku, the Festival of Seven Herbs. The ancient festival can be traced back to China and was adopted into Japanese culture during the Heian period. The Festival of Seven Herbs is annually held on January 7th, and throughout the day, a seven-herb rice porridge is consumed to protect against evil, sickness, and disease and bring health in the new year. In the porridge, the first herbs of spring are harvested from the wild to celebrate the season changes and the year to come. Many Japanese also believe the herbs contain beneficial life forces as the plants had to fight through the snow and have the energy to grow. By consuming the herbs, it is believed the life forces will be integrated into the body as an added layer of protection. Chickweed, known as hakobe in Japan, is favored for its sweet and grassy flavor and is often paired in the porridge with shepherd’s purse, cudweed, nipplewort, radish, turnip, and dropwort. While preparing the herbs, it is also customary to face in the direction of good luck and recite incantations in the belief that these traditions will protect future harvests of the herbs. In the modern-day, the practice of eating seven-herb rice porridge is still widely respected, and the flavorful mixture is a seasonal favorite that marks the coming of spring. The porridge is also viewed as a cleansing meal after the heavier dishes consumed during the new year’s celebrations.
Micro Chickweed was developed at Fresh Origins Farm in San Diego, California, the leading American producer of naturally grown microgreens since the mid-1990s. Fresh Origins has been using the mild, Southern California climate year-round to produce robust, healthy, and flavorful microgreens for over twenty years, and the farm closely partners with chefs to create innovative varieties with unique flavorings. Fresh Origins also has the highest level third-party-audited food safety program and is a certified member of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, which follows science-based food safety practices to promote transparency and honesty in production. Today Micro Chickweed can be found through select distribution partners of Fresh Origins across the United States, including Specialty Produce, and are also found through partners in Canada.