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New Zealand: How a little farm is growing microgreens

Urban Farm has a microgreen assembly of kale, mizuna, pak choi and purple rambo radish (sometimes rocket or other greens). This adds sharpness to maybe falafel wraps, or a splash of colour and flavour to poached eggs on toast. It's also perfect to toss through an iceberg lettuce and spinach salad, or scatter across a thick vege soup.

Urban Farm's intriguing name and first-rate products led to a visit, to a little corner of the city where a north-facing 1700sqm garden has been put to new use by the McLeay family. John McLeay, former Hamilton barrister, is now a "micro manager" in his own backyard. He shares the work with daughter Effie McLeay, his wife Sarah is involved but has a day-job, and Effie's 2-year-old son, Luka Muhlbacher, is an exuberant supporter. His sandpit and trampoline are features of Urban Farm.

The notion of digging up the back lawn began a couple of years ago when Effie returned to Hamilton after working in organic food production at Wilderland, a sustainable living centre in rural Coromandel. She wanted to continue what she'd learned at Wilderland, John was looking for a different direction, so they began growing market garden vegetables and then – at the suggestion of cafe-owner friends – moved to microgreens.

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