Winter Greens

Add a little health to your hearth this season with garnishes from Fern Farm

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A small farm in Warwick won’t see their fields freeze over this winter – in fact, fields aren’t even part of the equation at the indoor facility where green sprouts pop up year round. “Not all farms are down long winding rural roads,” says Jen Tanner, who owns Fern Farm with Jason Santos. “You can foster community and sustainability in cities as well. We’re not your typical farm with tractors, cows, and acreage, but we are avid gardeners who really enjoy using the produce we grow in our cooking.”

Microgreens are Tanner’s and Santos’ crop of choice. Their love for the nutrient-rich produce stemmed from a deep desire to prolong the growing season. “We were always disappointed when our fall garden came to an end every year,” says Tanner. “In 2019, we started researching the benefits of growing microgreens all year round and experimenting with different organic seeds and growing mediums. The benefits of growing microgreens got us so excited we wanted to share it with friends and family, which then led us to starting our small business.”

Now Fern Farm’s greens are delivered to homes across the state, and their winter availability makes it easier than ever to add a healthy spin to the holiday table. “Microgreens are vegetable greens just after the stems and leaves develop. They are harvested at their peak nutrient levels,” says Tanner. This means the small-but-mighty sprouts have up to 40 percent more nutrients than mature vegetables, and they’re full of beneficial enzymes.

“During the colder months in Rhode Island, microgreens are a great way to still incorporate local produce in your dishes,” says Tanner, and greens from Fern Farm are harvested the same day they’re delivered. 

Along with growing microgreens, Tanner and Santos develop recipes to showcase their harvests. “Each variety adds a different mood and flavor to your dish,” shares Tanner. Pea greens, for example, are an elegant finishing touch. “If you’re looking for a more festive look with a hint of spice, radish microgreens with their intense red stem and vibrant green leaves add that holiday burst.

“Whether you want to create a sophisticated soiree or a whimsical evening, microgreens can help elevate those appetizers. They are so easy to use and make all dishes look more beautiful.”

ALMOND CRUSTED TUNA CAKES

4 cans of tuna (drained)

1 cup crushed almonds

¼ cup flour

3 tsp brown mustard

½ cup diced red onion

2 egg whites

1 Tbsp garlic powder

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

3 Tbsp olive oil

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp lemon juice 

½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp pepper

1½ tsp Italian seasoning

Lemon Dill Aioli

1½ cup Greek yogurt

1 tsp lemon zest

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp diced fresh dill

1 cup of dill and amaranth microgreen

  1. In a mixing bowl, add tuna, red onion, crushed almonds, mustard, parmesan cheese, egg whites, Greek yogurt, garlic powder, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, and flour until all ingredients are combined.
  1. Use golf ball-sized amounts of the mixture to form into 3-4 patties.
  1. Add olive oil to a well-heated pan. Wait until oil starts to separate before adding tuna cakes and cook 3-4 minutes on each side for a nice sear. 
  1. For the aioli, combine all ingredients until smooth. Add a dollop to each cake with a fresh sprig of dill and amaranth microgreens.

 

BLOOD ORANGE MOCKTAIL 

Ice cubes

½ cup blood orange juice (about 2 blood oranges)

½–1 tsp fresh lime juice

½–1 tsp agave 

Splash of sparkling water

A slice of blood orange and microgreens to garnish

 

  1. Place ice cubes in a shaker. Add blood orange juice, fresh lime juice, and agave. (Taste your blood orange juice before adding the agave to determine the amount of sweetness needed. Sometimes it’s super sweet juice; other times it’s tart.)
  1. Shake, then pour in an up glass to serve. Top off with a splash of sparkling water.
  2. Garnish with an orange slice and microgreens

Note: For a cocktail with spirits. Add 1 ounce of vodka or gin to the shaker.

 

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