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The Incredible Business of Growing Microgreens

Is This a Lucrative Business From Your Basement?

When I discovered I could grow microgreens in my basement and make a nice amount of cash doing so, I soon realized this was something anyone could do! Even without experience growing plants, one could run a home based business in this contemporary niche easily.

An intriguing story of a couple earning $10,000 a month raising microgreens in their Calgary basement inspired me to study what’s involved in making this business flourish in my own home.

Here’s what my research has taught me about the business of growing microgreens in your basement.

Microgreens are Not sprouts. Sprouts are grown in jars under dark, moist conditions while microgreens are grown in trays of soil, with light. There is less risk of pathogens or contamination with soil.

However, keeping a microgreen operation clean and sanitized at all times is still important. The last thing any new food production business needs is contamination troubles.

A first step is to research the microgreens market in your area. It is becoming popular for haute cuisine restaurants to offer a salad rich in tiny greens and succulent shoots. The beauty is unrivaled!

Chefs everywhere are looking for a steady source of microgreens. Your job is to show them you’re for real, and are here to stay as a reliable supplier.

Approach restaurant chefs and tell them your plan for a microgreens business. Ask them if they would be interested in a local source for fresh, delicious greens, delivered weekly in live flats.

Some growers recommend buying premixed bags of seeds, so you just sprinkle the mix onto the soil, and it grows up so beautiful and delicious and fresh, with colors entwined and leaves of different shapes. Definitely a lovely addition to any salad offering.

Find out what varieties of microgreens they would like to try in their kitchen, and create trays based on that.

Or you could approach each chef and show them what you offer, and they can make a selection.

With restaurants, it is definitely the aim to sell them produce by the flat, but if they are not looking for that, have your different kinds of greens packaged in nice containers with a pretty label.

Consider what is easiest for you before offering them anything. If growing flats of salad mix works best for you, then offer that. If it is just as easy, see what they would like in their kitchen, and how you could supply it.

A few follow-ups with your chefs may be necessary. A couple of visits accompanied by emails detailing your product line will show them that you’re serious.

Once they see that you’re moving forward with your farm and growing what you said you would grow, they’ll be confident enough to place a trial order.

Some faster growing microgreens:

  • Radish
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Inkling Mustard
  • Basil
  • Beet
  • Arugula
  • Mizuna
  • Kale
  • Endive
  • Tatsoi
  • Boc Choy
  • Cress
  • Lettuces
  • Komatsuna
  • Broccoli Raab

Growing to heights of 2″ to 3″, these greens will be bursting with flavor and rich in phytonutrients as well as secondary plant metabolites like Antioxidants, Beta Carotene, Enzymes, Lutien, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.

Other varieties of seed such as sunflower, pea, wheat, popcorn and nasturtium lend themselves more to ‘shoots’ grown to 5″ high, taking a period of 40-60 days until they are ready to harvest.

Awesomeness

Microgreens are delicious, empowering superfoods. Typically, microgreens are 40 times more nutritious than the full-grown plant.

They’re easy to use and add natural flavor, beauty, zing and health to salads, smoothies, sandwiches, omelets and stir-fried meals.

Shop The Natural Way

Farmers markets are also an important outlet. Some microgreen farmers report earning $400 at their local market! In some areas, you can find two or more markets to attend in a single weekend.

This is very nice money considering that you’re using a portion of your home to grow these microgreens, so have already covered some of your business overhead costs like rent, water, power and heat.

Those costs are incurred already, as part of your mortgage, so setting up your business under this umbrella is awesome.

Setting up at the Farmers Market

Make sure you have a shade canopy. Customers strolling around the market to buy fresh produce will appreciate your shady location and nicely packaged microgreens.

Have handouts (say 5″ x 2.5″) that are easy to slip into a purse or pocket, with an eye-catching picture, your farm logo, contact information and a short list of the products you grow.

Make up a pocket sized microgreens recipe book (about 3″ x 3″) which shoppers can purchase for a dollar or two. Display these cute little books right by your till, and customers will be delighted to buy them and take them home with some of your greens.

What’s Involved in Set-up?

Supplies for your farm are simple, though you do have to invest a few hundred dollars to get up and rolling. You are going to need:

Here is a sample label I created at canva.com. a place you can experiment with templates and text for free. Only when you want to download or print, you have to pay a dollar or two.

It’s also fun to sit down with pen, paper and coffee, and design something original, then take it to your local print shop or Staples, and have them print them up a bunch for you.

Seed Business

Farmers recommend buying seeds in 25 lb sacks. Premixed blends are recommended for better uniformity. They need to be untreated, but tested for pathogens. If using any seed that has not been tested, please sanitize the seed with this simple mixture of

  • 4 tsp white vinegar
  • 4 tsp food grade hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 quart of water
  • soak seeds 10 minutes, rinse, then plant.

Here are 2 companies I found online where you can order seeds. They both offer microgreen seed varieties in small or larger quantities.

Vesey Seeds

WestCoast Seeds.

Also, check your local nurseries, or farm and garden stores. They are keen with the trend, and most offer microgreen seeds in varying quantities.

 

Soil? Where, What?

My recommendation for soil would be the very large bag offered from your local Home Depot. If you order it online, it will be brought to your door, placed where you want it, and should last a good while.

Local nursery have soil available. Also, Walmart, Canadian Tire, and other large stores. Around my area we have the ‘big yellow bag’ of soil, which is the most economical route available. But I don’t know about your area. Home Depot is everywhere across North America, very easy to find. That’s’s why I recommend it.

 

Price Point

In my research I found that microgreens sell for between, $40-80 dollars per pound. I know that’s a big stretch, but I assume if your in NY and have a salad at the Ritz Carlton with microgreens in it, they are charging out at around $80 per pound.

If you are at the farmers market in Kamloops BC getting a clam shell of microgreens, they will be sold by the oz weight, say a 3 oz pack for $5, affordable to you- but it does work out to $40-$42 a lb. overall.

When you are growing microgreens in your basement, you too can charge $40-$80 a pound.

Being able to get these kinds of prices per lb. makes growing microgreens a fantastic home business.

 

Closing Arguements

I think one could reap large rewards from this business of growing microgreens.

# 1 would be substantial revenue

# 2 you would always have fresh, tasty, healthy greens to eat, no matter the weather, or the situation in the store.

I’ve made a shopping list for you, spent hours searching for just the right growing trays, and other supplies needed to start.

I left a few links so you can find each item easily.

Thanks for reading this article. I have done my best to paint an honest picture of the microgreen business, and I hope I have

inspired you to start a microgreen business in your basement!

“To begin an adventure, you must always take that first step”

If you have any questions, or would just like to leave a comment below, I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

17 Comments

  1. Growing microgreens could indeed be a great business idea. I wonder if there are any online resources that help you find local chefs who are interested in finding suppliers. What’s also great is that if you fail to find anyone willing to buy from you, you can just eat the microgreens yourself.

    • I know, right? you can eat your own microgreens and attain a new level of health, I’m thinking !

      What a great idea! I’ll spend some time looking online to see if there are chefs out there, looking for growers.

      Thanks for the comment, and the tip!

      Kathleen

  2. Thank you for this fantastic idea! I absolutely love it! 

    I had no idea it could be so easy to start a microgreens business. Honestly I would have never thought of it on my own. I live in a very rural area where businesses of this nature are very well received  Thanks to your article I may seriously consider it! 

    • Your welcome Shannon!

      It’s always awesome when an article you read connects with you, and gets you thinking.  Before researching this project, I had no idea about the microgreen.

      I learned so much! Now I’m putting in a set of shelves in my basement area, and will spend the winter growing microgreens, and experimenting with the best kind for me, and making a video series of the process, and how to do everything. A visual step by step. Very quick and informative. 

      Trays, dirt, how to seed, watering practices, the whole shebang.

      Please check back now and again and see the operation unfold

      šŸ™‚

  3. Hello Kathleen, thanks for presenting this beautiful means of earning a living engaging in the business of microgreens. Truly, microgreens are truly in high demands especially from most restaurant chefs. I think if I started this business, I will major solely to being a sole supplier to all the restaurants in my area. Apart from benefiting in the earning aspect, it also avail me the opportunity to eat fresh and new vegetables. Thañks for sharing this untapped into gem.

    • Hi Shelley, thanks for your comments!

      If you started this business, and supplied all the restaurants in your area, wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

      An added bonus to anyone growing microgreens…your morning smoothie is packed with nutrition, and your dinner salads are beyond compare! 

      Your health soars, for the little microgreen is 40% more nutritious that the full grown plant. That’s gotta be good for energy.

      šŸ™‚

  4. Wow, I didn’t know that growing greens could be so much of a good business opportunity. The story of those couple is truly inspirational and I think that I too can make good money just by growing this greens. There are a number of restaurants around here that would be interested in what I have and I’m sure if I offer something cheap, they’ll jump on it. Thank you so much for sharing. This might be my opportunity to make good money. Cheers!

    • Thank you! glad to be an inspiration!

      Do you have a basement area you could set up a shelving system? If you started with ten trays, you would have to have ten in germination, ten in growth, ten being harvested. Lets say $25 per tray, x’s ten= $250. a week x’s 4 =. 1000 a month.

      Not too shabby. Talk to these restaurants in your area! what if they are desperate for a microgreen supplier? you could have a nice side business right out of your basement!

      Remember to come back here to get your supplies šŸ™‚ I spent hours searching for just the right shelves, just the right trays, etc. I chose the good quality, sturdy items that will be perfect for you when setting up this business.

      šŸ™‚

  5. What an interesting read! It just goes to say that any business can be lucrative if you do it right. $10000 a month from selling micro greens, though.. wow lol. I know of other greens that can generate that income, but I think I’d get in trouble for that business venture…
    I didn’t know it was that simple to start as well… Might be a good venture just to start being able to eat healthier. Thanks for getting my brain juices pumping. Great article. 

    • Thanks, Wilson. Glad I could get you thinking

      I bet if you started a microgreen farm, you could just sell to your neighborhood and make money! 

      Not even go out to land some contracts from big restaurants! Have the customers come to you and buy from your kiosk out in front of your house!  One visitor to this site was telling me that’s what her friend is doing and it’s working very well for him. None of the driving around making deliveries, fighting traffic, burning gas.

      Just tending your greens and collecting money from your front porch!…could be a good thing…

      šŸ™‚

      Kathleen

  6. Wow, I am very happy that I found this because I was looking for how to get my mum’s passion for growing plants into a money making stream for her. She doesn’t grow some of this plants but I’m sure she’ll be interested now. This is very good business and I’m sure she’ll be very interested. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for your comments!

      that would be so awesome if your mother could grow beautiful microgreens from her home. No slogging off to work a job, just go downstairs and sing to your plants as you water them! 

      Please share this report with her, and see if it creates excitement, and the ideas start to pop! lol

      I would love to hear if it inspires her.

      Kathleen

  7. Growing microgreens is a cool and lucrative business if one have  loyal buyers that can come and pack them from the home garden when they are grown. I have a friend that is doing very well with the business despite the fact that he has his 9-5 job he’s doing. He already have customers, so he didn’t bother to gain space at the market for selling cabbage and lettuce.

    • Awesome! Does your friend sell all his microgreens from his home? Does he put them in containers? or little baggies? Does he sell flats to restaurants?

      I’m so curious as to how others are doing at this wonderful business!

      Kathleen

  8. Hi Kathleen, waw, I am impressed with your step by step instructions on growing a microgreens business. Its an a-z guide and you havent left out any details. You can also be successful selling microgreens to your neighbours. My dad does the same on a smaller scale as he has now retired and does it as a hobby, but he does supply greens to the family and some fav neighbours. Thank you for such a great article. 

    • Hi Marisa, thanks for your comments! Always nice to hear from someone that you’ve done a good job at something!

      That’s great about your dad! Does he like growing greens? Caring for plants can be calming to the spirit, and so rewarding…ie great salads!

      I was thinking that someone could have a nice side income selling to local neighbors. Thanks for confirming that. I think its the sign of a great home business, when the customer comes to you.

      šŸ™‚

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