Starting a microgreen business may be easier than you think. An investment of around $250 allows you to buy the seeds and equipment required to begin growing your plants. Microgreens are ready for harvesting after as little as one to two weeks, and the potential profit for 10 containers of stock sits at around $600 per month.
Continue reading to discover the steps to begin your own microgreen business, what equipment you will require and how to harvest your crops. This article also details which microgreens are the most popular, growth forecasts for microgreens over the next five years and how to start selling them to potential clients.
How Do I Start A Microgreen Business From Home?
Your location affects both your growing and selling potential. The best place to sell microgreens is in a city with an abundance of restaurants where the surrounding community is health-conscious.
Microgreens can be grown indoors and thus, can be grown in any location. But, ideal weather and climate could prove beneficial to the overall quality of your plants.
Additionally, you need to ensure that you have adequate time to manage your microgreen business as it will require a couple of hours per day to plant new trays, water your seeds, and harvest the crops.
What Equipment Do I Need For Microgreens?
When you start your business, you’ll be looking to purchase the essentials:
- Ten trays with drain holes
- Potting soil
- A fluorescent lamp (At least T5)
- Paper towels
- Spray bottle for watering
- Scales to measure microgreens for packing
- A small fan to keep crops ventilated and avoid mold
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Microgreen Business?
You can begin a microgreen business for as little as $100, and for just a couple of hours of your time, you could be earning $500-$1000 each month.
Fixed costs include trays and lighting. It’s a good idea to begin your business with around 10-20 trays, which cost about $2 each. For every ten trays you have, you will require one T5 lamp, a fluorescent bulb that is tubular shaped and is five-eighths of an inch in diameter. Each light costs around $50.
Next, come your variable costs. There are many seeds available at varied price points, the average cost of which works out around $5 per ounce, which is the amount needed to fill one tray.
If you opt to grow your microgreens in soil, quality is essential, and a good quality potting mix will cost around $1 per tray. However, if you opt to grow your microgreens without soil, you will require growing mats which cost about $2 each.
Your final expenditure is packing, which is often very cheap when you buy in bulk from online retailers. Your costs for packaging can be as little as $0.50 per box.
How Profitable Is A Microgreen Business?
A microgreen business can be highly lucrative if planned thoroughly and executed correctly. As the demand for microgreens grows exponentially, the supply is still not equipped to cater to the large volumes, hence why microgreens currently sell for high prices.
Sourcing equipment and seeds are relatively easy, as is growing your microgreens. The most challenging element lies in selling, and it’s best to begin with small, local restaurants before approaching larger companies.
The average selling price is around $20 per tray or $2 per ounce, and you can regrow each tray up to three times per month. Therefore, you can expect to earn around $60 per tray per month; at a starting point of 10 trays, that’s about $600 per month.
How Do You Harvest Microgreens For Sale?
Microgreens are ready to harvest when their stalks are around two to three inches or when their first true leaves appear; to determine the most flavourful moment to pick them, regularly taste to decide the optimum picking time.
When your seeds are ready for harvest, cut the stalks just above the soil line. Rinse your harvest in cool water and place on a damp paper towel. Working with speed is critical to minimize the time your plants spend at room temperature.
How Do You Store Harvested Microgreens?
Microgreens will last longer and retain their quality when properly stored. To do this, keep your microgreens sandwiched between damp paper towels in a container that you place in the fridge.
Keep microgreens covered until they are ready to be plated, as this prevents them from wilting or drying out.
How Do I Get Customers For Microgreens?
The best clients will likely be high-end restaurants that will provide your business with consistent demand and pay a higher price for quality produce.
To obtain high-end restaurant clients, a good strategy is to select 25-30 target restaurants in your area and visit them to converse about your products and provide them with a free sample. A few days after your meeting, ensure you contact the business for their feedback.
You can also sell directly to consumers locally, online, or via venues such as farmer’s markets.
Alternatively, contact catering companies. These large organizations can offer regular contracts for your company and may lead to further potential clients.
Are Microgreens In Demand?
Microgreens are already in high demand across increasingly health-conscious societies, and the global market for microgreens is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5% between 2020 and 2025.
What Microgreens Do Restaurants Want?
Radish is the most popular microgreen for its low cost, vibrant color, spicy flavor, and high levels of nutrition.
One of the easiest microgreens to grow are peas, which are easy to harvest, produce good yield and add variance and texture to a dish.
For a health mix, salad and broccoli microgreens are soaring in population for their combination of health benefits and versatility as a garnish.
Additionally, restaurant owners are likely to utilize curled cress to add flavor and texture to soups, salads, and basil to taste pasta dishes. Beet, chard, and amaranth are also demanded from chefs but can prove a little more challenging to grow.
Do You Need Insurance To Sell Microgreens?
Farming produce is allowed in most areas without the requirement of a permit, but it ultimately depends on which area you live in and what you intend to do with the produce.
Many microgreen businesses do not have insurance, and it is not a requirement. With a relatively low setup cost and minimal ongoing cost, the financial risk to you is low.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.