Micro Greens -- Profitable?

heirloom_lady(z5 OH)January 24, 2005

I would like to hear from anyone growing and selling micro greens. I've read several articles about it including Johnny's handouts, and it sounds very appealing since there isn't much else I can grow and sell until spring. I started a couple flats under lights as an experiment, and they look good--taste good in salads too.

What is a fair price if selling to resataurants? Since it takes such a quantity of seeds is it really worthwhile? How do you package them for sale?

Thanks for any advice,

Sherry

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davepays

Hi Sherry,
Would you mind sharing your current growing method? I was thinking about experitmenting with micro greens as well.
Thanks,
David

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 6:01PM
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heirloom_lady(z5 OH)

I have the flats under lights in the basement. I already had shelves and lights set up for seed starting. This will work fine until I need to start my vegetable and flower seeds.
I used a couple inches of seed starting mix and sowed the seeds fairly thickly. Water and keep from them from drying out. I used a mix of radishes, bulls blood beets, Swiss chard, mustard and pak choy. They were ready to harvest in about 14 days when they were 1 l/2" to 2" tall. Just check the germination time and plant slower germinating seeds together. My radishes have outgrown the beets. If I were doing this on a large scale it might be good to plant each variety in individual flats -- then I could mix them to order.
Sherry

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 10:01PM
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paulwhitson

Give us a follow-up on your experience, Sherry.
What has been most successful ?? What would you avoid ??

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 3:58PM
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heirloom_lady(z5 OH)

Quite honestly I haven't had much success with the micro greens. They take an awfully lot of seed and they are pretty time consuming to harvest. It's a nice touch, but lettuce and other greens mixes are simpler and easier to sell. I just started adding beets and radishes as part of my baby lettuce mix. Has anyone had better luck.
Sherry

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 9:31PM
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ohiorganic(5/6 SW Ohio)

The latest issue of Growing For Market sez there is really no market for microgreens any longer.

but perhaps you do have a chef in your area who wants them. If so charge about $30 a pound for 'em (really...It takes a lot of space and a lot of seed to grow a whole pound of them)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 7:59AM
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Glenn_50(New Plymouth NZ)

It only takes one....
A restaurant grower over here has slashed the price of microgreens by 60%. He has stated that he will make it unprofitable for anyone to sell to "his" restaurants.
Growing only the weightier greens he has conned the chefs who use micros and they have gone to him. He doesn't produce Amaranthus, coriander, dill, basil but does produce mustard,arugula, red cabbage, radish,cress etc. He markets nationwide through a wholesaler.
The restaurants attitude is "micros are micros..who cares?".
Besides that after 3 years over here they now consider them old fashioned.
We have standing orders but it does get harder.
The restaurants here have taken a big hit with consumers using their disposable income on fuel not meals out.
A big trend over here is now no garnish. Many of the restaurants are proud of the fact that they have no garnish at all...not even a sprig of basil.
Which certainly doesn't help.
I think microgreens will just slowly stabilize with no growth in the market.
BTW what ever happenned to Walton Creek?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 5:46PM
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organic_nut

Growing under lights is terribly expensive. the cost of lighting and the electricity are almost impossible to get back in the selling price.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 8:50PM
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freshfields(Phi)

hi

i am doing microgreens now and not all varieties are profitable. for me, profitability is dependent on the multiplyer effect of 1 gram of seed within 10 days.

if you get more than x 7 in no more than 10 days, that is what i call ok.

but i am surprise to read above post saying microgreen is on its way out. maybe too many growers in your area and mass distribution of these microgreens. me, i select my customers for microgreens and make it pricy so only a few can afford it and maintain its novelty.

i produce around 7 kilograms of micro each month for just a handfull of clients. price been at $40/kilogram for the past 3 years.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 8:01AM
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veggiking

Sherry and Freshfield,

I was wondering if you both mind sharing your methods and experiences? I am gathering info to start a micro green trial. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Veggiking

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 2:27PM
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zuch

I have been a very successful micro grower in colorado. I grew under lights and in green houses. I sold my business in october 2005 for one years net, (35k) The new owner is doing well. The trick is to have a very high end market and get 3-4 very good customers, ones that use about 20 or more pints a week and several small customers. I don't believe for one minute this product will fizz out. They just add too much to a dish and if used properly do not add that much cost. I charged 12-16 dollars a pint for micros and packed them alone very similar to alfalfa sprouts. I will be helping a grower in Denver get started this spring, showing him everything there is to learn. The seed costs, electricity are just minor costs when done correctly. I have learned many tricks on how to grow product without any dirt residue and how to pack them so they last 7-10 days. I charge for my services to get a grower started but I may be willing to answer a few specific questions. I am presently travelling around the country in a RV having been semi retired. I would love to see other peoples set ups in my travels. I am presently in Florida.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:10AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Hey Zuch, if you're ever in the Harper's Ferry, WV area, stop by for a visit. I actually live in Maryland but I'm just up the Potomac river from the historic town of Harper's Ferry.

I'd sure be curious to know how you can pack them to last so long. Also, what kind of mix do you use and do you mix it yourself?

I want to sell salad mixes to some of my friends and neighbors. I plan to include baby bell peppers, radishes, cukes and green onions.

Share some tips, please:)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 5:45PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Doh, and tomatoes.....ummm, how could I forget tomatoes?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 5:46PM
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zuch

As far as getting your salad mix to last longer, I have no experience with that. I was only into the microgreens. The way I would get the micros to last longer was to not make a mix, but pack each item alone in a pint container the same size as you see in the grocery store for alfalfa sprouts. Put a paper towel, the blue shop towel works well, in the bottom of the container. The container needs to have holes in the bottom. Spray the inside of the container until towel is nice and wet. Pour out excess water. Cut micros and place stem down and pack that way until the container is nicely packed, about 2 or more ounces. Place a damp paper towel on top and put a lid on. It takes a little practice to pack micros this way. But doing it this way it comes out to over $100 a pound. I sold Arugula for $12 and anything red, garnet amaranth or purple basil for $14 and bulls blood beet for $15. AS i said before, you need a very high end market, but chefs garden in ohio charges even more and they add on the fed ex shipping charge.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 9:20PM
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motabike_juno_com

greetings:

zuch, i am really interested in growing micro greens, i only know of one woman doing it big time here... i'm currently living near tampa, fl.. if you're still in the area and looking for something to do, it'd be great to meet up and maybe i could pick your brain a little.. or anyone from FL for that matter! email me no problem..

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 3:54PM
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thecondor1

I am very interested in starting an experimental, then eventually Commercial organic hydroponic (CropKing) micro-green, lettuce and sprouts business.
It appears from all the comments that the most expensive cost is electricity/lights/heat.
I am erecting solar panels, black rubberized solar heated 'water-walls' and wind energy for air-conditioning and air circulation.
I believe this will increase the bottom line substantially.
I have also approached the SBA for a energy saving loan and this might be covered by the present Energy Act 2009, promoting energy saving small businesses.
I will also be concentrating on the 'money-making' micro-greens and not get too carried away with the unusual.

Walton Creek seems still to be in business but diversifying, as the economy hurts the 'gourmet' anything and they are apparently also hurt by competition Nationally.

Any comments,

Ray

Here is a link that might be useful: Where no Eagles Dare

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 3:47PM
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freshlygrownfarms

I have a hydroponic farm, mostly specializing in lettuce and exotic greens, and have been trying to utilize some extra space in my greenhouses by doing Micro Greens ( primarily diakon radish, mizuna). From my experience so far, they are only worth what a restaurant is willing to pay for them. Market value could very well be $30 a pound or so, but if no-one is willing to pay that, they won't be worth the price of the seeds. I usually get around $12 for a couple of bagged ounces, which turns out to be a pretty good profit (especially since the space I am using to grow them would be going to waste otherwise). The seed cost is typically $12 to $20 a pound, and that spreads out to around 18 full trays. Each tray yields one of those bags of greens. Therefore, I am usually making around $200 from each pound of seed. As far as dirt or harvesting problems go, I would suggest buying Micro Green mats ( I get them from Amhydro). These eliminate the dirt and harvesting is much easier because you can simply pull up bunches by the handful directly out of the mat. The other costs on my end are nothing, because I am using lighting, nutrient, and heat mats that are used already for lettuce seedlings on empty space on my propagation tables.
Paul

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 4:37PM
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stephanm11

Ray (thecondor),

I am currently very close to purchasing Crop King's microgreen system and would like to know if you have been satisfied with your results...?

Matt

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 4:07PM
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faces4free_msn_com

to Zuch: I'm just curious about the prices you charged for your greens. Here in Utah, they are selling for $4 per pint in the Health Food stores. Why would a restaurant pay $12-$16?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 11:03AM
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enoch_yemeni_gmail_com

$12 - $16 per pound

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 4:54PM
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statton_james_yahoo_com

Well I would check out the following site if I were you. This site sells microgreens seeds as well as other sprouting items that you might be interested in learning about and it can give you the information that you need.

Here is a link that might be useful: Microgreens Seeds

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 2:50PM
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johnnydooderj_yahoo_com

I am currently using the channels from cropkings micro green system. They are 10 inch wide channels and i use burlap as the planting material. I did not buy there complete setup, i built my own frame. With Johnnys Seeds spicy and mild mix i get about 2lbs per 6ft channel. Its a cool system in the fact that it is multi level and doesnt take up a lot of space. If you can find a market i believe there is plenty of money to be made and it was something different for me to try besides hydro lettuce.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 1:44AM
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Rgrow

Just reading some old forums, and was curious how any of you were/are doing on your commercial microgreen efforts? Would love to hear any good or bad experiences you might have had.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2014 at 9:23PM
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timintexas(z8 E.Tx.)

Hey Rgrow...I bought the CropKing system. Results? Not so great. At the rate I sold product last year it will take a zillion years to get any return. Several big problems. Biggest one was the fact that when I took the greens to market, they collapsed from the heat. A clam shell full of wilted Microgreens is not very sexy. They were not to hard to grow, just that there was not a lot of demand and I had a hard time drumming up much business with them. Cutting them is a lot of work and you have to do it no earlier than the night before. Staying up until 12 am and having to get up at 4 am to go to the market...not good.

I had a brain storm though. I took the clamshell that I sold the cut greens in and put the burlap directly into the bottom, seeded it thickly and waited to see what happened. Perfection...thick, full container that I did not have to cut. Just snap the lid closed and done! Since they are still rooted into the burlap (moist) they should have much more "shelf life" than the cut ones. I showed this end product to a bunch of co-workers and they loved it. Much prettier presentation than jumbled, cut greens of last year. Also, much less seed so a bit more profit. Now, I did this in the greenhouse I work at, not in my actual system. I see no reason that it will not work though. I just need to make my system more level so the water does not drain out of the channels as fast. The clamshells are easily penetrated by water since they have many vents along the bottom. Probably will set my pump to run an extra minute or two also, just to make certain water has made its way into clamshells. Since the roots are still intact, the customer can choose to have fancy cut micros or more typical sprouts. They just pull them out of the burlap. I think if you are going to direct market these at a farmers market as I do, it would be worth trying. BTW... best place to get an amazing seed selection at a MUCH better price than Johnnys...Kitazawa seed out of California. Johnnys is a huge rip off compared to this place. I think I bought over 30 different species. Excellent selection.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 9:06PM
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