Farm Feature: Borage

Sep 14, 2020 | Farm

By: Chelsea Wallace (Farm Intern) & Kaitlyn Dykstra (Farm Manager)

What is Borage? An easy to grow annual herb that can be harvested as a microgreen or grown out to produce edible flowers with a beautiful neon blue color profile and a distinct cucumber flavor.
Why we grow it: FoodChain grows borage in the barrel-ponics system and produces not only the plant and the flowers, but also borage microgreens, which are grown in the main aquaponic system. Microgreens are essentially edible seedlings that have aromatic flavors as well as a more concentrated nutrient content. This easy to grow herb is a good partner in the barrel-ponics system and produces a high quantity of flowers.
How to grow it: Planting Borage in full sun will give you the most flowers and the stockiest plants. Seeds are best sown under ½ inch of well-worked soil after danger of frost has passed. You can easily sprinkle a patch with seeds and then cover it with a few handfuls of soil or nutrient rich compost. The plants can easily grow upwards of 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide so leave them a little room to grow. Water deeply whenever the first 1 to 2 inches of topsoil dry out. Treat this easy-to-keep, self-seeding herb well and it will reward you with scores of beautiful flowers and fertile soils.
History and Origin: Borage is from the Boraginaceae family and has the botanical name: Borago officinalis. It is native to the Middle East and has an ancient history in war as an enhancement for bravery and courage. It attracts pollinating bees and is considered a good companion plant for tomatoes, squash, and strawberries. Borage adds trace minerals to the soil it is planted in, and is good for composting and mulching.
Health benefits/Nutrition: Traditionally the borage plant was used to treat many ailments, from jaundice to kidney problems. This herb is also the highest known plant source of gamma-linolenic acid (an Omega 6 fatty acid, also known as GLA) and the seed oil is often marketed as a GLA supplement. It is a source of B vitamins, beta-carotene and calcium, iron, and trace minerals. In alternative medicine it is used for things like treating inflammation, skin disorders, stimulating breast milk production and as an adrenal gland tonic; it can be used to relieve stress.

Who do we sell it to?: West Main Crafting Co. and occasionally other restaurants around Lexington.

RecipeThere are many ways to utilize Borage- For example, the leaves can be used as a salad green and the flowers as edible decorations. This herb can also be utilized in soups, lemonade, cocktails, preserves, jelly, various sauces, frozen in ice cubes, cooked as a stand-alone vegetable, or used in desserts in the form of fresh or candied flowers.