Monday, August 8, 2011

good days

It was a good day at the Farmer's Market yesterday.  
I was offering up some sunflower shoots, pea shoots, purple radish shoots, popcorn shoots and nasturtium flowers and leaves.  At my market display, folks can take a bag (or bring their own) and create their own salad mix.
I was also selling cut herbs, garlic and of course, flowers.  The little sweet pea bundles are snapped up within the first few minutes...I'm amazed at how many people love sweet pea flowers!

The corn shoots have been very popular too.  They have a unique flavour.  The juicy white stems taste like raw sweet corn and the top leafy part, like grass, sort of (some people say wheatgrass)....I'm not too crazy about the taste but sort of like it sometimes too.  It seems I can't really decide.  Some folks have also said it reminds them of stevia, maybe because it's so sweet and is a plant....
I first tried corn shoots at a restaurant in Ottawa, quite a few years ago now.   They were on my plate as a garnish and I didn't know what they were.  The flavour was SO familiar but I just couldn't figure it out!  It was winter-time and sweet corn didn't come to mind.  Then I saw them for sale a couple years ago at a farmer's market I was visiting and I just had to try growing them.


I grow them in trays in a dark cupboard on an earthen floor in the cob garden kitchen to give them that nice yellow corny colour and to make them nice and tender too.  

 I cover the grow tray with another tray just to make sure it's very dark and when the shoots are ready, they're pushing the cover tray up off the grow tray.

These days, I'm planting the trays with many more seeds than this one and learn!

Friday afternoons and evenings are for filling up the garage fridge with bags and bins of shoots and microgreens for Saturday Farmer's Market sales.  By the end of the night, it's all packed full.  It has been fun selling at the market more often this year.  I really enjoy meeting all the folks who buy the things I grow.  I'm thrilled and  a wee bit amazed at how popular and successful these lovely greens have become.  Producing them keeps me hopping.  Thanks to everyone for all the encouraging interest, feedback and support.  It's good fuel to help keep me going!

Here a happy customer is filling her bag with some purple radish of my favourites!  They have a radishy flavour, mildly spicy.  These days, I've noticed that growing them in the summer heat seems to make them zingyer!

I grow these in trays too.  And many more of them per sowing than the corn shoots...they've become a staple salad ingredient for quite a few of my customers and for me too.

All in a row on the greenhouse shelves with the peas and suns.

Pretty little leaves.  There are always some green ones in with the purples.

One of my all time favourite lunch time salads:  pea shoots, sunflower shoots and purple daikon radish shoots....with a light honey mustard dressing...oh so delicious!  And apparently the radish shoots are very good for us too.  I've read that the purple colour comes from an anthocyanin that's also in blueberries and black currants and is what makes them so full of antioxidants and so good for us.
These little plant gems are also fabulous stuffed in a sandwich or decorating a bowl of soup, sprinkled on top.


  1. Love this post! I think i will try growing some corn shoots. Your photographs are gorgeous...I am inspired. Thanks, Katherine

  2. Yes! Let me know if you have any questions or anything I can help with...try the pea shoots too, they're such a nutritious green and a joy to grow inside in the winter when it's cold outside...wishing you fun and delicious success!

  3. Hello Christina,
    my name is Tanya Todorova and I really like your web sait. I'm interested in growing different sprouts. At the moment I'm doing some trails with corn shoots. Do you know which kind corn seeds are good for it? Poping corn seeds or sweet corn seeds? My trails are with poping corn seeds and I have notice that the roots are getting red do you know anything about this? I will be really appreciate for your help!
    Thank you!

  4. Hi Tanya,
    I use certified organic popcorn for my corn shoot seed. I've never tried sweet corn and probably won't because the popcorn works so well for me. I don't know why the roots are getting red....that's never happened to me and I can't think of what that would be...guesses: maybe the seed has been treated with something that causes the colour whenit gets wet and in contact with soil?...maybe something to do with the soil?...sorry, not very good guesses...I just don't know about that...will keep it in mind, now that I'm curious. Let me know if you figure it out. Happy corn shoot growing!

  5. Thank you very much I will keep going with my trails.