Know Your Farmer: Sweet Peas Urban Gardens

Microgreens Add Big Nutrition to Your Produce Box

Tami Purdue and Julie Gauthier of Sweet Peas Urban Gardens grow 30 to 40 delicious varieties of nutritious microgreens for you to add into your weekly Produce Box. But just what ARE microgreens, some of our members have asked! They’re tiny vegetables and herbs harvested at the formation of the first leaves, at their maximum nutrient density.

Studies have shown that microgreens contain between 4 and 40 times the nutrient density of the full-grown plants. So a tablespoon of raw microgreens is a full serving of vegetables! In addition to their superfood properties, microgreens also give tremendous fresh flavor in a small bites.
And where these microgreens grow at Sweet Peas might surprise you! The farm is actually a Crop Box, which is essentially a trailer engineered to act as a greenhouse. “By growing the equivalent of an acre of field grown crops or 2,200 square feet of greenhouse space within just 320 square feet, this is among the world’s most highest yielding agricultural systems,” Tami tells us. Even better, a Crop Box uses 90% less water and 80% less fertilizer than conventional farming methods.


Tami had 25 years of experience in a local law firm and gardened in her front yard as a hobby, but after attending an urban farming conference held by the InterFaith Food Shuttle, she decided she was done with corporate life! She retired and found Julie, who already had a partnership with us at The Produce Box to provide our members with delicious and nutritious microgreens. Julie grew up on a farm, manages the Chickcharney Farm in Wake Forest, has a full time job with the USDA and is a veterinarian. Tami and Julie realized that by teaming up they could farm in larger quantities and expand the business.

Tami and Julie have also been inspired by the original intent of urban farming as a way to give back to the community – especially communities near the food desert of Southeast Raleigh where their farm is located. They donate their microgreens to A Safe Place Childcare, where director Kimberly Shaw provides nutritious meals such as a salad bar with protein to the children for their free and reduced lunches. Kudos to Kim and Sweet Peas Urban Gardens!

Their favorite microgreens: Julie loves the cilantro — her husband uses it to make guacamole, and they also put it in rice and omelets. She says it’s really bright but intense — just use a little! Tami says right now she’s really enjoying the buckwheat lettuce which has a lemon flavor to it, but her favorite is the classic spicy mix which is the very first thing she grew.

We hope this information inspires you to add some microgreens to your next Box and enjoy the delicious kick and nutritional value that even a small serving will provide. Sometimes the best things do come in small packages!