Doctor's orders: Eatmore Sprouts and Greens
Talk to Carmen Wakeling for a few minutes, and sprouts appear to be the obvious poster child for health-minded New Year’s resolutions. Carmen and her husband Glenn own Eatmore Sprouts & Greens—one of the few companies whose name could also work as a doctor’s directive—located in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. Eatmore sprouts everything from alfalfa, clover and peas to mixed bean sprouts and sunflower greens.
Carmen is passionate about the benefits of their products. “Mixed bean sprouts are an extremely good protein replacement,” she says. “And they have so many other great qualities.”
Have a superhero for dinner — or lunch
Because they’re so early in their lifecycle, sprouts are densely packed with vitamins, minerals and proteins. They contain up to 100 times more live enzymes than mature fruits and vegetables, and besides offering an alphabet soup of vitamins (A, B, C, E and K) they’re also loaded with antioxidants—those superhero particles that prevent (yes) oxidation, the source of the internal villains known as free radicals.
And since they first appeared on the scene thousands of years ago, sprouts have been found to be alkalizing, which is a good thing: our culture generally has an overly acidic, out-of-whack pH balance caused by consumption of processed foods, meat, and sugar, which has been linked to cancer and other diseases.
Obsessed, in the best way
Carmen has been associated with the industry since working at a friend’s sprout farm in her teens. She and Glenn—who grew up on his family’s sheep farm on the slopes of New Zealand’s North Island—took on full ownership of Eatmore Sprouts five years ago. Together they oversee 45 employees (who participate daily in collective yoga stretches on the production floor) of the family-owned certified organic, 3.75-acre farm.
It’s fair to say the couple are sprout-healthy food-obsessed. “We are involved in our industry at all sorts of levels to stay on top of the best practices,” says Carmen.
Sustainability-wise, this means creating an innovative low-impact heating system for their greenhouses, using a wood-fired gas boiler lovingly known as the “garn” that heats floors and greenhouses via warm-water pipes.
Eatmore is Certified Organic so recycling and composting are important aspects of the production. They have just installed 48 solar panels to help reduce electricity requirements, and the facility is run using Bullfrog Power (wind power sold into the grid to replace energy they use).
“We do our best to tiptoe and leave a small footprint on our planet,” says Carmen. Quality-wise, it means buying only certified organic seeds from select suppliers, inspecting & testing every bag prior to use, and regular third-party testing. Eatmore Sprouts & Greens Ltd. is HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) certified to assure customers they're doing things well.
“We take only the very best seeds, and we’re trying to be innovative and creative at all times.”
In the sprout world, there are many ways to be creative. “Recently, a chef I know made sausages out of sprouts. She used a pork casing and used mixed bean sprouts,” says Carmen. “She wanted to show people that if the industrial revolution had been thought of differently, some of these innovative ideas may have happened.”