I love the innovation on the Sunshine Coast. New food trends see new businesses catering to these trends, and I love how producers have become so adaptable and intuitive to the needs of chefs and the culinary creative. This is very much the case with The Greenshed, a Sunshine Coast business that specialises in chemical free microgreens, culinary herbs, sprouts and edible flowers.
Meet Sharon and Marcus Koski and their children, Anita and Kodie – this is very much a family operation, which makes it even more pleasurable to discover. Their property is located in Palmwoods, a 10 acre patch of land that has been their own little microgreen and edible flower oasis for the last four years. The Eudlo Creek runs through the middle of the property with a nature corridor that is the home to local wildlife and wild vegetation.
Sharon is just gorgeous. You can see that she loves what she does. It is easy to understand why. Everything is pretty. While my perception is of a laidback and relaxed atmosphere, I can see by the volume and demand, that relaxed is perhaps not the correct description…
Visiting The Greenshed you are greeted by a lovely farm gate with a great selection of potted herbs, vegetables seedlings and edible flowers in pots at the gate. So if you are looking to get your backyard edible garden started, the farm gate is definitely worth the visit.
The microgreens are grown in trays in under shade cloth. They have numerous varieties growing at any one time depending on the season, and harvesting is done in the way of giving the shoots a quick haircut (with scissors), which fills the punnets with the confetti-like greenery (that is not always green).
Microgreens are the ‘fluff’ you will find on top of most dishes in the way of garnishing. And while there is some debate as to the amount of ‘fluff’, or even need for it, I happen to like the ‘fluff’ and quite enjoy the exercise of working out what variety of ‘fluff’ it is.
The ‘fluff’ – microgreens – comes in many shapes and forms and the thing I love about them the most is they can take a simple dish and make it look quite extraordinary. Having said that, it is not just about how the dish looks. Microgreens have their own flavours with many chefs adding layers of subtle flavours to their dishes by carefully selecting the perfect microgreen to complement existing flavours and ingredients. For these chefs, they have become more than just a garnish; they are an integral and individual element of the dish.
The choice of microgreens are endless; vivid green coriander, and basil, bold burgundy sangria radish, vibrant scarlet beetroot, beautifully tufted golden corn shoots, curly snowpea tendrils, parsley, baby broccoli, mustard… I could go on and on.
And then there are the baby leaves; purple sweet potato, red vein sorrel, nasturtium, lemon scented geranium, hibiscus and raspberry amaranth, and edible flowers – now that is a truly exhaustive list.
When I visited, Sharon was sorting the edible flowers into punnets, many of them pre-orders for cake decorators and I was quite entranced by the clouds of stunning blossoms that covered every surface.
I have always had a bit of a thing for edible flowers and I have really enjoyed seeing a resurgence of these edible decoratives adorning sweets, cakes and a kaleidoscope of pretty-as-a-picture dishes of late. But it is astounding to me, just how many edible flower varieties there are. Just when I thought I knew them all, I am introduced to a whole new spectrum of delightful blossoms that are divine in appearance and are beautifying cakes and dishes in restaurants and cafes throughout the Sunshine Coast.
Sharon grows many of the edible flowers herself, but complements her stock with some spectacular organic roses (as well as some other flower varieties) grown by Caz Owens, a local organic heritage rose grower. And let me tell you… those roses are something else!
Cosmos, abutilons, dahlias, dianthus, borage, cornflowers, marigolds, pansies, violas, camellia, calendula, roses, nasturtium… it is impossible to list them all, but between Sharon and Caz, they pretty much have most of the florals covered.
Wandering through the shadehouses the microgreens are at various stages of growth. Planted quite densely, the seeds, as they germinate, lift the layer of earth above them, eventually emerging. The scarlet beetroot is definitely the most impressive, although I did see them post some piccies of the bright yellow corn shoots recently, and they look particularly funky. Note to self – ‘must acquire’.
If you are after seedlings, you can visit The Greenshed’s farm gate. For microgreens and edible flowers, there are a number of outlets around the coast or contact The Greenshed direct, and they will advise on where you can find them.
It is wonderful to see such a lovely family operation. Packaging microgreens, all of which are definitely grown with love, I cast my eyes over the picturesque setting before me. I can see that this is not a bad way to spend the day. But seeing their resident goat, Gary, sprawled out on the edge of the dam bathing in the glory of the morning sun, I realise, that some of the family is just not working as hard as the rest… lucky he is a pet, I guess…
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This story was written by Petra Hughes – Pebbles + Pomegranate Seeds