By Anthony St. Clair

Whether it’s shoots of nutty sunflower, spicy radish, or crisp pea, the juicy crunch and fresh colors of microgreens can boost the flavor and nutrition of any dish or smoothie. Now, a new business growing just south of Eugene is bringing year-round microgreens to the southern Willamette Valley.

Microgreens are the small shoots of sprouting vegetables. While typically only one to two weeks old, their nutrition density can be up to forty times higher than the fully grown vegetable. Their flavor can brighten up virtually anything from sandwiches and burritos to soups and salads. For Cottage Grown Greens spouse team Eddie and Addie Sanders, it was also an opportunity to provide people a fresh, versatile, locally grown food.

“I’ve always been interested in agriculture and wanted a farm,” Eddie says. “Microgreens were also something we had been interested in due to their high nutrition content.”

The Sanders team turned to the internet, local business rules, and Oregon Department of Agriculture requirements, seeking to learn everything they could to grow both their greens and their business.

Eddie and Addie Sanders, owners of Cottage Grown Greens

“We tested out doing microgreens on a small scale to see what it was like and to supplement our garden,” Eddie says. “We loved it so much that just a couple weeks later, we knew that we had to scale up and turn it into a business.”

After opening Cottage Grown Greens in February, Addie and Eddie have been refining their growing process and making more greens available.

“We have been vending at the Lane County Farmers Market in Eugene, and it has been wonderful to connect with the customers firsthand,” Addie says. “We love it when people stop by the booth to ask questions, get advice on how to use microgreens, or just to stroll by and say, ‘I love your greens!’”

Another benefit of vending at the Lane County Farmers Market is the ability for microgreens to be available widely, which is incredibly important to Addie, who works as a nurse. “I love that the Lane County Farmers Market accepts EBT,” she says. “So many of our customers are using their food stamps to add these local nutritious greens to their diets.”

Along with sunflower, radish, and pea, Cottage Grown Greens grows many other greens. Microgreens are available as a single crops, but Addie and Eddie are always creating and refining their own blends, such as the Superfood Mix, which combines purple kohlrabi, micro-broccoli, and micro-kale.

“You can’t beat our custom-made radish blend on a taco,” Addie says.

Local eateries are getting on board, such as Eugene’s Poco Loco and Cottage Grove’s Jack Sprats.

“Working with locally owned businesses has been a priority of ours from the start,” Addie says. “It’s an amazing experience when passionate people come together with a similar vision to serve the community. We have really enjoyed all of the local connections that we have made.”

In addition to the Lane County Farmers Market, Cottage Grown Greens’ products are available at the Shady Oaks Farm Stand and Coast Fork Farm Stand in Cottage Grove. Addie and Eddie also have their own “Greens Fridge” in Cottage Grove, where customers can order by Friday evening for pickup Saturday through Monday.

A list of currently available microgreens is online and Eddie expects that list to continue growing. The team is planning to add more varieties, but they’ve maxed out their current production space and are working on an expansion.

“It has been such an incredible opportunity to watch our dream of providing fresh local produce to the community come to life,” Addie says. “These little greens have quickly taken over our hearts. It’s an honor to be able to share them with the community.”