In 1987, shortly after graduating agricultural college, Jo Slegers built a greenhouse and began growing just one product – Boston Lettuce. Fast forward 30 years, and Slegers Greenhouses now grows over 47 different products that fall within four categories: organic greens, herbs, microgreens and lettuce.
The World of Microgreens
Nowadays Jo, and his wife Pauline, live on the farm and manage the greenhouse operation. In 2004, after many years of trialing organic methods, Jo and Pauline got their organic certification.
Jo is very passionate about growing organically and maintaining a high standard of operations that is better for our environment.
If you’ve tasted microgreens from Slegers, you know yourself the potency of flavour and texture they embody. Jo and Pauline offer their greens as ‘living’ greens". This means they grow and ship their greens as living root balls. The difference is undeniable. They are fresher, tastier and last longer when grown and delivered living.
The ease of just snipping, rinsing and serving right away makes it seamless to serve your customers the freshest and most flavourful organic greens, microgreens and herbs.
Microgreens themselves are the young, tender green shoots of vegetables, greens and herbs. They are delicate, vibrant, packed with flavour and are nutritionally dense. It’s a stellar combination all round!
Check out this short video to hear from Jo & Pauline themselves about Slegers Greenhouses. Check out their greenhouses, shot and produced by our digital media specialist, Sara May!
Slegers Greenhouses & 100km Foods
Slegers was one of the first five producers to ever work with 100km Foods, and they're one of the most collaborative farm partnerships we’ve made!
In the early days, Paul said their small orders were piggy backed on FoodShare orders. Those orders consisted mainly of arugula, basil, watercress, Boston lettuce and pea shoots for Il Fornello restaurants.
At the time, Owen Steinberg was executive chef of the Il Fornello restaurants. Owen, Paul, Grace, Jo and Pauline worked together to grow and package their exceptional products in a way that made the price point friendly for the wholesale market.
In fact, it was Owen’s suggestion to package Slegers organic greens as a root ball instead of the plastic clam/tray packaging to reduce costs. As you may realize, that’s still how Slegers products are packaged today.
This kind of collaborative effort between farmer, distributor and chef is truly what can transform what the local food system is capable of!
Since the early days things have only continued to evolve. Slegers organic greens are one of our mainstay offerings, with a consistency of high quality that makes them an absolute chef favourite.
What Chefs Have to Say About Slegers Microgreens
Chef Amy Mastrofini from Caffe Demetre says, “We have started using the red veined sorrel microgreens from Slegers and its presence on the plate really elevates the dish to the next level. The taste is mild enough that we use it on sweet dishes.
This is a huge factor for us, because so many micro greens can have a very strong flavour that doesn’t always work with sweet dishes.
The shelf life blew me away, with the plants staying vibrant, fresh (and growing!) after 17 days in the fridge. At room temperature, they lasted about a week.”
Red veined sorrel used in their sweet dish below looks beautiful, doesn’t it? We’re certain it tastes even better!
A big thank you to Jo, Pauline, Sara & Connor for their help with this post!