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.”
• 2 Tbsp salted butter, room temperature
• 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
• 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
• ⅛ tsp Worcestershire sauce
• ⅛ tsp hot sauce
• ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
• ¼ cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese
• ⅓ cup dried cranberries
• ⅓ cup crushed nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts)
• ⅓ cup green onion, finely chopped
• ⅓ cup microgreens
• 12-15 pretzel sticks or rosemary sprig
1. In a medium bowl, add butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and ground pepper. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined and smooth. Stir in cheddar cheese.
2. Use a spoon to divide the mixture into 12-15 tablespoon-size portions. Dip clean hands in a little bit of water and smooth each portion into a small ball. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or as long as you want in advance). Before serving, roll the balls in cranberries, nuts, microgreens, or green onion. Place a pretzel stick or rosemary sprig in each when you are ready to serve.
• 1 16-ounce brie wheel
• 12 ounces fresh cranberries
• 2 jalapeños, finely chopped
(remove seeds for less heat)
• Microgreens of choice to garnish
• 1 tsp water
• ¾ cup sugar
• ½ cup chopped pecans
• 2 Tbsp maple syrup
• 1 Tbsp cinnamon
1. Using a sharp knife, trace a circle around the top of the brie rind about ¼ of an inch from the sides. Carefully cut the circle away from the cheese wheel to expose the creamy center.
2. Place the cheese whole on an oven-safe plate or bowl. Make sure the plate has plenty of room for oozing, should some spill over. Bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, add cranberries, jalapeños, sugar, and 1 tsp water to a small sauce pot and bring to a boil (cranberries will burst, releasing juices that will dissolve the sugar).
4. Prepare chopped pecans by tossing in maple syrup. Toast lightly in a small pan for about 4 minutes and then sprinkle a tablespoon of cinnamon on them.
5. Remove brie from the oven and top with cranberry sauce, pecans, and microgreens. Serve warm with bagel toast, crackers, or pita chips.
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