By Imke Ahlf-Wien

If you’ve ever driven down Bladensburg Road into D.C., about 20 minutes from Hyattsville, you may have wondered what is hiding behind the beautiful mural featuring large colorful flowers, shoots, leaves and greens. This is Little Wild Things City Farm: an urban farm, located in an old parking garage (906 Bladensburg Road NE). Three different kinds of crops are grown here on less than a quarter of an acre: microgreens (and their slightly larger sibling, shoots), salad greens and edible flowers. 

pea shoots
Pea shoots are delicious when quickly sautéed in olive oil and garlic or stir-fried with soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and lime juice.
Photo credits: Imke Ahlf-Wien

Oksana Bihun, vice president of operations for the all-women team, excitedly leads me through the grounds: a few rows of blossoming pansies, corn flowers and salad greens, and rows and rows of microgreens, stacked on top of each other, sometimes up to five shelves high — making the most of the limited space. Employees are busy hauling soil and assembling pansy blossoms for the daily count: 1,026 in total, I notice later on the whiteboard.

Microgreens seem to be all the rage these days, but what are they exactly? Essentially, they are the seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs, and they don’t need a lot of space to grow. At Little Wild Things Farm, they grow in small trays that are covered in nourishing soil with water trickling in, while overhead LED lights simulate sunshine.

shelves of microgreens
Shelves of microgreens growing at Little Wild Things City Farm
Photo credits: Imke Ahlf-Wien

With their high concentration of nutrients, especially minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and polyphenols, microgreens are nutritional powerhouses. They can pack four to 40 times more nutrient content than their fully grown counterparts. They are not dependent on the seasons, and they grow quickly: Microgreens are harvest-ready about one to four weeks after planting. In the past 20 years, microgreens have slowly moved from fancy restaurant garnish to the mainstream. They’ve become a favorite of urban farming and have even been praised as an “efficient food resilience resource” that can help provide global nutrition security (Acta Horticulturae 1321, 2021).

Microgreens are versatile. You can use them like fully grown salad greens in sandwiches and salads or add them to stir-fries and smoothies. They often have a stronger flavor than their fully grown counterparts, and some can be quite spicy. I tasted a few on-site and tried a few samples at home. While my favorites were the pungent radish and broccoli varieties, I was smitten with the pea shoots that taste like a mixture of baby spinach and peas. 

Currently Little Wild Things Farm’s produce is available at their store (where you can also get a peek at their farming operations), at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Sundays (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and at the Columbia Heights Farmers Market on Saturdays (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), starting in April. 

farm mural
Little Wild Things City Farm is located at 906 Bladensburg Road in the District.
Photo credits: Imke Ahlf-Wien

In Hyattsville, you can take advantage of their salad share, which runs for 10 weeks, five times a year, and can be picked up on Wednesdays at the farm or from a drop-off location in University Park; home delivery is also available for much of Hyattsville. The share usually includes shoots and salad blends, various micro greens and micro herbs, as well as seasonal treats and weekly recipes.

Stir-fried Pea Shoots (serves 4)

My favorite way of eating pea shoots is a quick sauté in olive oil and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper. For this recipe, I added ginger and a mix of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, lime juice, honey and spices. Don’t overcook the shoots — you want to keep their vitamins and antioxidants intact!


  • 1 bag pea shoots, about ½ pound
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil 
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste


Wash the pea shoots. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, lime juice and crushed red pepper in a mixing bowl, and set aside. Heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger. Once they start to brown, add the pea shoots, and simmer for about two minutes. Add the sauce, and let simmer for another minute or two. Add salt and pepper to taste.