UK: Microgreens firm Lightfoot's in Sway spreading small wonders

Microgreens have long been a staple in high-end restaurants around the country, but a Sway couple are pushing to make the increasingly popular superfood a go-to in kitchens across the New Forest.

Pete and Gracey How set up Lightfoot’s Farm microgreens in 2019, growing 15 varieties of herbs and vegetables – perfect, miniature versions of their fully grown counterparts that are promoted as being tiny powerhouses of goodness. The couple bought the farm at auction in 2018 after moving back to the UK from Afghanistan, where they had worked in international development. Pete spent 15 years working with farmers there and in Iraq to create sustainable and resilient agricultural practices.

Growing microgreens started out as purely an effort to improve the family’s nutrition, but Pete and Gracey saw a potential niche market for their product and began selling the plants to farm shops, restaurants, and pubs, as well as to local residents.

Lightfoot’s supply many New Forest pubs and restaurants, including The Elderflower and The Fisherman’s Rest in Lymington, The Gun Inn at Keyhaven, The Snakecatcher in Brockenhurst, and Offbeet at The Retreat New Forest in Christchurch. The microgreens are also sold in farm shops including Ferndene in New Milton and Setley Ridge in Brockenhurst. “We sell directly to people’s homes too, and this is what’s most important to us and what we want to do more of,” said Pete. “This is a fabulous way of getting a really diverse range of vegetables – each 30g pot we provide is the equivalent of more than a kilo of mature veg.

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