Remember how huge wheatgrass juice was – ten to fifteen years ago? Walk past a local cafe and there’d be people tossing back tiny shots of emerald-green chlorophyll as if it were a virtuous vodka. According to Avi Karny, qualified engineer and plant scientist, and for the past two years owner of Energetic Greens, fresh wheatgrass juicing ‘takes a fair bit of time and material as well as a specialised juicer’ – and yet since his business started reintroducing it at the farmers’ markets he’s seen a steady increase in its sales.
It’s only one of the wildly nutritious offerings at the stall. Organic sprouts and micro-greens are all available, sprouts in a dazzling range I’d not known existed. There’s broccoli and snow pea and radish sprouts, sunflower and buckwheat sprouts, barley grass and salad mix sprouts, all certified organic, neatly and cleanly packaged; the wheatgrass in serried ranks of vibrant green. Sprouts are the germinated seeds of plants like alfalfa and mustard and clover, their nutrient content increases 500 per cent when the seeds sprout, bursting with vitamins and antioxidants and enzymes. They truly are a superfood, and yet I’ve often wondered about their uses, apart from in salads. Avi, however, is educating me: ‘The more delicate ones such as broccoli and radish’, he says, ‘are mainly used to enrich sandwiches and salads. The hardy ones, such as sunflower and snow pea, can also make a great stand-alone snack, being so crunchy and full of flavour.’ What’s more, he adds, ‘some varieties go really well in hot dishes such as soups and stir fries – add them on top and mix in, they will remain crunchy and add texture.’
He personally consumes sprouts every day. ‘With some olive oil and balsamic vinegar: such a delight!’. I can well imagine.
Energetic Greens are at Mullumbimby on Fridays from 7–11am.