The new President toured a woman-owned microgreens farm in DC
By Anna Spiegel for the Washingtonian
March 9, 2021
Dogs. Jeans. Bagels. Empathy. These are just a few of the regular human things President Biden has shown an affinity for since taking office in January—a big departure from the last four years.
On Tuesday, Biden did what could very well be the most un-Trump thing yet (we’re still processing): He toured a woman-owned microgreens farm in Northeast DC.
Biden dropped by Little Wild Things Farm as part of a visit to small DC businesses that have benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program, and to highlight changes his administration is making to PPP. He first visited W.S. Jenks & Son, the oldest hardware store in DC, whose building houses two urban farms, including Little Wild Things and Cultivate the City.
Little Wild Things owner Mary Ackley, a career foreign service officer turned urban farmer, says she didn’t think a tour of her facility was on Biden’s schedule. But she asked, he accepted, and she was soon showing the President rows of pea shoots and celery microgreens, radishes and mixed brassicas. A lovely pink light colored the scene from a new hydroponic system that grows edible flowers.
Ackley says her seven-person operation, which pivoted from supplying restaurants to a new delivery “salad share” program during the pandemic, would not have survived without PPP.
“I told him we produced over 18,000 pounds of food last year from this space, and he was really interested in that,” says Ackley of Biden’s visit. Ackley says she gave the President a bag “of the most beautiful micro greens and salad blends we have.” An avid sewer, Ackley also made two Little Wild Things dog bandanas for newly exiled first dogs Major and Champ. She says another member of the White House entourage expressed interest in sourcing her microgreens, shoots, and edible flowers as well as more local produce.
“It’s like a dream come true. We’re the smallest of the small, and we’re working on issues he cares about like climate change,” says Ackley. “We’re trying to move forward and innovate through the pandemic and change the agricultural system. I’m so glad he was able to see the farm and take the time—that extra ten minutes meant so much to us.”
By Anna Spiegel, March 9, 20201
We were inspired to make this simple, comforting twist on spaghetti al limone from Smitten Kitchen, using our basil microgreen winter blend. Join our Salad Share today to get in on the microgreen fun this Winter!
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces or 225 grams) dried spaghetti
- 1 lemon
- 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper + coarse salt
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
- Little Wild Things basil microgreens (one small handful)
- Boil the spaghetti in salted water according to package directions.
- While it boils, finely grate the zest of half your lemon into a large bowl.
- Add the juice of the whole lemon (about 4 tablespoons).
- Use the same grater to grate the parmesan cheese on top of the ingredients in the bowl.
- Add olive oil, about 1/2 teaspoon salt (and more to taste), and several grinds of black pepper and combine them with a whisk until very well mixed and as smooth as possible.
- When the pasta is al dente, scoop out 1/2 cup of cooking water, set it aside, and drain the rest.
- Quickly place hot spaghetti into lemon-parmesan mixture in bowl and use tongs or spoons to toss it until all of the strands are coated. Don’t worry if the mixture seems too thick or sticky, just get the strands as evenly coated as possible.
- Add reserved pasta water, a little (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) at a time, tossing the whole time, only until the spaghetti looks glossy and lightly sauced. You might only need a very small splash to achieve this.
- Add a small handful of basil microgreens and toss to combine, then garnish with more microgreens, a drizzle of extra olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan. Enjoy!