The Gourmet Herbalist

Marlenea La Shomb, ND, LMT
March-April 2020 • Vol 3, No 109

Looking out at the snow-covered garden and frozen ground, as winter lingers on, I count on my greens to provide me with chlorophyll, known as “liquid sunlight.” I recently had the wonderful opportunity to meet Sam Mascari, owner of Montana Roots in Livingston, and to tour his magical greenhouses. Right before my eyes, I saw what I had previously only read about—an aqua-ponic, recirculating, greenhouse ecosystem! It starts with the tank of fish that provides fertilizer, which is then pumped into a biological filter bed that is rich with worms and beneficial bacteria.

Montana Roots is a year-round, sustainable farm that grows a variety of microgreens, shoots, leafy greens, herbs, and edible flowers. Sam explained to me the difference between sprouts and microgreens. Sprouts, grown in a jar, are more the germinated seeds and the roots; whereas, microgreens are eaten after the first leaves (called cotyledons) emerge from a plant. It grows in soil that is a significant part of the embryo within the seed of a plant. Upon germination, the cotyledon becomes the embryonic first leaves of a seedling, before adult leafing occurs.

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