Amanda Yadav finds joy and power in a magical room in her Andover home. Amanda cultivates over 30 different varieties of micro greens in a converted bedroom that is now registered as Fiddlehead Farm. The leafy rainbow that she tends yields flavors and textures that enhance any dish in addition to being nutritional powerhouses.
The farm’s name is a tribute to Amanda’s Duluth roots. Her parents owned a half acre wooded area in the middle of the city. “The whole back area was ferns. I grew up playing in the fiddleheads all day long. It was so cool.”
Amanda’s goal? “I want people to know about micro greens. They’re not just a garnish for a restaurant. They’re for everyday people,” shared Amanda. “I had never eaten a radish before growing micro greens. I didn’t know what all of these flavors were. Now I can grow them and try them out. They’re all great!”
Her journey into micro greens started with a tray of broccoli seeds that she started during the winter. “It was fun. I enjoyed it. I kept doing it for my family.” As her production increased, she approached a local restaurant just down the road from her house. “The Tipsy Steer was my first customer. I’ve been able to grow along with them.” Amanda provides micro greens for all three Tipsy Steer locations.
This winter experiment became an unexpected professional journey. Amanda turned her suburban home and garden into a working farm. Along the way she gained a deep appreciation for what it means to support and shop local. “I love supporting local and being a part of it. I didn’t really understand until I started growing myself,” shared Amanda. “I learned so much from watching and listening to people at the farmers’ market. I was one of those people who went to to grocery story and bought whatever I felt like, not really thinking about what was in season.”
Amanda encourages her customers to get to know the people behind the products they consume. “You have to know their stories. Know how much work is involved in what they do. Know where your food comes from or where it doesn’t come from. There’s A LOT going on here.” Amanda appreciates the support and education that she received from local food purveyors Minny Row Market and Michelle, the garden maven, of Forks in the Dirt.
Every local purchase has a positive impact. It may feel little to you, but it adds up. “Making just a few changes in your purchasing and going to your farmers’ market is important. You make a difference without realizing the impact you have. That’s how we strengthen our local supply chain.”
Those small steps are all the more poetic when micro greens are the product in question.
Cultivating micro greens is fast-paced work. Amanda cleans trays every Wednesday. Thursday she fills trays and stars to seed the next crop. Friday she finishes seeding. Over the weekend she waters. Monday and Tuesday are harvest and delivery days. Then it’s back to Wednesday with harvesting, delivery, and cleaning trays all over again. Most varieties are ready to harvest, which Amanda does by hand, in ten days. Some varieties, often special requests from customers, take longer. Amanda especially enjoys experimenting with new plants.
Over the winter months, Amanda ran a salad share where she delivered three to four varieties of micro greens to customers weekly. Thanks to customer inquiries about reusable containers, almost all of her delivery shares were packaged in glass jars, which customers returned for a deposit. At least 3000 plastic clamshells were saved in the first half of this year thanks to Amanda’s and her customers’ efforts to reuse.
Before establishing her Andover farm, Amanda lived in Kansas and Nebraska where she earned a Master’s degree in french horn performance. She played with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra and performed with Broadway on Tour’s Mary Poppins. She’s also taught piano lessons. She hasn’t tried performing for her micro greens, but didn’t rule out the possibility.
These days you’re more likely to find Amanda teaching a class on growing your own micro greens at home. She sells grow cups for both humans and pets. She really wants people to understand the power of growing their own food.
Find Fiddlehead Farm greens year round through Market Wagon. This winter she will return to the White Bear Lake Winter Farmers Market hosted by Forks in the Dirt. You can also pick up at her Andover farm.
See Amanda’s full selection for pick up or delivery at https://www.fiddleheadfarmmn.com Right now she has a beautiful assortment of edible flowers available. All of Amanda’s plants come from non-GMO seeds and are often organic. Amanda composts all her root mats in her home gardens and edible flower beds. It makes for a happy mini-ecosystem that feeds both her family and her customers.
The winter Microgreen Salad Share will return. Watch the website to know when sign ups open.
Amanda shared her Farmers’ Market Breakfast Sandwich and Pasta Alfredo with Peas recipes for you to try at home.
Follow @fiddleheadfarmmn on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s growing inside and out at Amanda’s house.
Follow @meettheminnesotamakers on Facebook and Instagram to meet more people making Minnesota a tasty place to live!