Wheatgrass in Arkansas!

A version of this blog post by Pauline Theissen first appeared on Ozark Natural Foods’ blog.

Winter is here! During this time of year when it’s harder to exercise due to cold, and we want to eat more carbohydrates and meat, we need to get as much nutrients through our diet as we can. Obviously, adding more fresh produce to your diet can really help you maximize on your daily nutrient intake. Wheatgrass shots are another way to get a ton of nutrients in a tiny package!

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This week in produce we are excited to be able to introduce you to our newest Principle 6 producer, Wheatgrass Express! The business is run by Ross & Guadalupe Ferguson in gleamingly clean warehouse facility in Springdale, AR where they work to supply our store with sprouts and wheatgrass. The process of adding a new vendor for our store is fairly uncomplicated though there are things that we do to begin a mutually beneficial relationship with each of our Principle 6 producers. An important aspect of this relationship is the story about each of our P6 vendors. Telling that story will tell a lot about the type of product that a producer works so hard to provide. In working with dozens of farmers, I am always curious about what motivates them to grow a particular crop as farming is assuredly a labor that requires passion. To help us with the story of Wheatgrass Express, Ross & Guadalupe took some time to answer some questions about themselves.

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Q: What you produce, how long have you been in production and how did you get started?
R&G: We produce wheatgrass and a variety of micro greens, and have been in production since September, 2014. We got started the idea when friends of ours opened a juice bar in town. We thought it would be great to provide them with locally grown products to juice with!

Q: Why are you P6/why do P6 values matter to you?
R&G: P6 is important to Wheatgrass Express because it tells our customers, “Hey, we are your neighbors!” Programs like P6 are what keep Fayetteville funky and produces multiplier effects throughout the local economy.

Q: What is your business doing to create long-term change in the food system?
R&G: Our business hopes to educate people in the power of wheatgrass and micro greens. Wheatgrass Express wants to help people reconnect with their food. Eating food fresh, locally grown food has no negative side effects! We are also educating people on how to produce their own micro greens so everyone can afford to eat healthy!

Q: What’s one specific impact you’ve been able to see from your work?
R&G: The relationships I have formed with my personal clients are worth more than gold.

Q: Besides your business, what’s your favorite P6 producer?
R&G: Sweden Creek Farms! I love how they have turned the forest into a productive work of art. Their success has given us motivation and inspiration.

Q: Your favorite thing you produce?
R&G: Our absolute favorite thing to grow is the sunflower sprouts. Of course, it is the most time-consuming of all the products. We absolutely love the versatility of the pea shoots, they can be used in so many ways!

Q: What else do you want customers to know about you and your business?
R&G: Ecclesiastes 12:13 “ I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.”

From Ross & Guadalupe Ferguson:

Our story started under the mountains in Patagonia were my wife and I met. We fell in love and couldn’t part. I told her she had to come to Fayetteville with me, “It is beautiful there, everyone will love you.” My wife and I learned about wheatgrass when a friend of ours opened a juice bar in town. We started growing it in our house and it tasted good! It was fun too! We got passionate about it when we began to feel the benefits of drinking it daily. After a month I was sold on wheatgrass.

The Principle Six trade movement is really important to us because it keeps Fayetteville funky and stimulates the local economy. We wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for Ozark Natural Foods and their commitment to local farmers. Our doors are always open and we encourage you to come watch the grass grow! We are so excited to be providing ONF our wheatgrass and micro greens!

Thanks Ross & Guadalupe! Wheatgrass is a highly nutritional food—taking one shot will give you an equivalent amount of chlorophyll from 20 salads!!! Wheatgrass is a cleansing food and will aide in liver detoxification, blood purification, and helps boost your metabolism and immune system. And if you’re still developing a taste for the sweet flavor of wheatgrass, try it out with a slice of lemon or mixing it with our freshly made carrot juice!

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