In our earliest days our founder, Dan Tomen, began making wheatgrass juice with tray grown wheatgrass. He knew that mold was in the trays and tried all sorts of methods to clean and decontaminate the trays. When a customer with a mold allergy had an anaphylactic reaction to the juice, Dan stopped using trays altogether. Once he realized he could juice field grown grass, Evergreen Juices was born.
Tray growing has changed a little bit over the last 25 years, so we decided to grow a couple of trays and see if the mold is still an issue. We purchased a wheatgrass growing kit and grew two trays of wheatgrass. The kit came with instructions, seeds, growing mats, and a tray. I was responsible for growing the grass. I followed the instructions to the letter, and at the end of the 9 day growing cycle for both trays there was blue and white mold. It turns out mold is still an issue for tray-grown grass.
Why is mold an issue? Mold can cause nausea, headaches, vomiting, and other unpleasant symptoms. Mold contaminated wheatgrass often has a very bitter aftertaste. I only get headaches when there is a major atmospheric pressure change and when I am extremely fatigued. I used a macro lens to get these mold photos and I had to work very close to the tray. By the time I was done using taking these photos, I found I had a headache. It was a clear sunny day and I had my recommended eight hours of sleep.
The mold is on the seeds, that means the grass is fine right? Well actually, no. We have had juice bar customers tell us that they cut above the mold line. There is no such thing as a mold line. When mold is in the soil, seeds, or water it can be absorbed by the whole plant. Look at the celery below. It has been sitting in water with red food coloring for 1 day. The red is in the stalk and showing up in the leaves. So, if there is mold in a tray then there is mold in the grass.
Evergreen WheatGrass is grown in fields, why does this matter? Growing outdoors in fields minimizes the mold growth. Mold grows in un-germinated seeds. In a tray, the rotting seeds sit amongst the growing plants and contaminate them. In fields, the seeds are planted with space between them. So the seeds that rot and mold are not in contact with healthy plants. No contamination. Also, growing outdoors means there is sunlight, which can help kill any mold that does grow.
Here at Evergreen Juices we care about our customers and their health. This is why we refuse to sell tray-grown wheatgrass. Your body deserves the best.
Cheers to your health!