Inchworm Microgreens

Update: Aug 15

The season is in full swing. There are about 6 week left till the market ends.

So the question is what have I learned so far in my first year as a microgreen farmer?

1) Don’t offer a csa your first year

2) Make sure you cut enough holes in your trays for good drainage

3) When you find a brand of soil that works, do not change it

4) Don’t not put the plastic dome lid on your trays on 90 degree days. It will fry your plant (Lost me a week of trays)

5) lentils sprouts, and popcorn shoots taste weird

6) Even if you have a fence to keep out deer, and woodchucks, you still need a metal mess netting to cover your trays to keep chipmunks from digging into them (lost a weeks worth of trays from chippers)

7) Speaking of woodchucks, they love sunflower shoots. I like to put out trays that did not sell for my pet chuck.

8) Using indoor grow mats for growing greens are not as easy as they say they are. At least not in my house. My trays looked great then totally molded out. When I talked to an expert from the company, he said I need a grow light on them 24/7, and a special sprout doom which is a zipped up covering, and a fan, and a sterile environment. In other words, it was not a super easy fail proof system they advertised.

9) That it is better to offer wheat grass trays to order than bring a few to the market to sell. They do not sell.

10) That pea shoots, and sunflower shoots are the most popular microgreens

Update: July 26

The idea was to offer a microgreen CSA, but being my first season, and having a few bad runs of trays in early in the season, I opted cancel the csa.

I still grow and sell my microgreens at the Westside Farmers Market held Thursdays from 3:00-7:00 at the Zingermans Roadhouse parking lot in the Westgate shopping mall on the corner of Jackson and Maple.

Thanks

Inchworm Microgreens Fans

2010 Inchworm Microgreens Farm CSA Info

Owner: Brian Steinberg
Phone:

Email:

Season: June 3 – Sept 9
Pick-up: Thursday 4:00-7:00PM at the Westside Farmers Market in Ann Arbor in the Zingerman’s Roadhouse parking area
Cost: Full share $180, Half share $90
Cost per week: $12 Full/$6 half
Total number of Membership: 50 full shares or 100 half shares
Growing Practice: Organic Practices: Use of Organic soil and amendments, and use of organic seed when available. Please Email me to request a membership sign up form.

What is in a share?: A full share consists of a Full standard size grow tray (11 x 22 inch) of Microgreens. The picture above shows full trays of Pea Shoots, and Sun flower shoots. Half shares consist of one (11 x 11 inch) size trays of Microgreens. Members can choose two half trays to make a full share.

What types of Microgreens are offered: Pea Shoots, Sunflower Shoots, and Wheat Grass are the standard offerings, and available each week. I will also feature basil, cilantro, radish and various other microgreens, with availability announced in the CSA Newsletter throughout the season. This is our first years, so I will be growing a lot test trays.

Can I customize my share?: Yes. Membership shares can be customized. There is a place on the sign up form where members can specifically request which variety of microgreens they want for each pick-up. For example a member can requested all pea shoots for the entire season, or all wheat grass. Another option can be peas shoots one week, and sunflower the next. I am very flexible, and only need a two week lead time to accommodate ongoing share requests. But I do prefer requests up front in the beginning of the season from the sign up form.

Do I have to sign up for the entire season, or can I sign up for a flexible CSA membership consisting of specific pick-ups?: Members can sign up for as little as one week, or a specific number of weeks, and even specific pick up dates during the 15 week season from June 3-Sept 9.

Can I get a double share (two full, or four half trays) or more?: Yes. Members can sign up for as many as they like. They can even increase their share (another half or full tray) during the season.

Can Members decrease their shares from Full to half during the season?: I prefer that members stick it out with the membership they signed up for. Members can always donate or trade their share to friends. When I was a CSA member, I would donate veggies my family did not like to appreciative neighbors. With that said, I ask at least a two week lead time with any changes.

If I cannot make a pick up can I get a refund?: Sorry, but no. I suggest having a friend pick up the tray. Trays are started 2-4 weeks in advance for members, and once started I and the member is lock into that tray for pick-up. Microgreens, unlike say storage crops, have a short shelf life, which means that once started, me, the farmer most likely cannot find another home for the tray. My policy is more flexible than most CSA which commit members for the entire season without options. If you know you will be out of town, I suggest sign up for a custom CSA share.

What do I do with the tray(s) after I harvest my Microgreens?: Members are asked to return the tray with the soil during their next pick-up. I reuse the trays, and compost the soil to grow more Microgreens. I require a $10 refundable tray deposit with CSA Members, which they will get back when they return all of their for their last pick-up.

Can I order more trays before and after the 15 week CSA season dates?: I may have more microgreens available possibly into October and even November depending on the weather. I will be running a few test tray before the season and may some some available. I will provide updates on this site, and in the newsletter with extended season news.

Can I request a special custom tray of a variety that you currently do not offer?: Yes. I will be doing a number of test this year, and I encourage requests for microgreen varieties. Special requests will take some lead time to find and order seed, and to start a tray.

I am a restaurant, school, hospital, Co-housing development, or planning an large event. Do you take large orders, and what about delivery?: Restaurant and large orders are welcomed and encouraged. I prefer that trays are pick-up at the regular Westside Farmers Market date and times. Special arrangements can be made if that is not an option.

What is the story behind Inchworm Microgreens Farm? How did you become the microgreens farmer we know and love?: I have been gardening for 10 years, and I love to share the food that I grow. The thought was to buy a farm one day in the future, but I have been thinking of what I could do now. The opportunity happened with microgreeens. I was traveling last summer, which meant that for the first time in years, I was not able to have a garden. When I got back into town, I still wanted to grow something, and I discovered microgreens. I started a few trays late last season, and featured them at the Home Grown Festival, at Bona Sera Secret Super Club and Tammy’s Tastings in Ann Arbor. The positive response inspired me to start my Microgreen farm and offer a CSA.

April 6:

Inchworm Microgreens CSA Sign up time:

http://lastoneeating.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/inchworm-microgreens-farm-update-csa-information/

March 29:

Ok. It is official. I just ordered 100 pounds of peas to be used to grow microgreens pea shoots. I will be starting some trays in a week or so.

March 23:

The weather is getting warmer. The plan is to have a few trays started by April 1st for a April 15-ish start of the microgreen season. Please contact me if you are interest in reserving a full or half tray. $12 full or $6 half (with a tray deposit)

Note: I am also going to be offering wheat grass for juicers. Please let me know if you are interested in reserving a tray.

Jan 10:

The seed catalogs are pouring in, and it is starting to be decision time for what to grow. Pea shoots, and sunflower shoots are definitely on the list. Corn shoots sound fun too. They were popular with chefs when I lived in Portland, Oregon. This is my first year, so that means a lot of fun experimenting. I am hoping to get my first harvest out by the first week in April

Nov 7:

I looked into an indoor system and decided not to do it this year. The plan is to build a hoop house to get ready for April next year.

Oct 18:

OK. The weather is getting colder and I have been think about what that means for my microgreen farm. I had been growing my greens outside to take advantage of the free sun and warmer weather.

So what to do about this cold weather? Do I invest into a indoor, grow light system, or be a seasonal farmer? The verdict is not out. I will look into the cost and the available space of an indoor system, and post an update when I have decided.

The definite plan is to offer a CSA for next season starting in April 2010. A CSA share will consist of one full grow tray per week. I will be getting half tray and eight sections per tray inserts to allow a variety of microgreens options for the share.

Here is a video of my backyard woodchuck eating a tray of peas shoots

Brian Steinberg
Inchworm Microgreens
Ann Arbor, MI

Welcome to Inchworm Microgreens, Ann Arbors newest and smallest farm. I am Brian Steinberg, your happy microgreen farmer.

What are microgreens? They are similar to sprouts only they are grown in soil in trays and they are slightly bigger. This picture shows a tray of pea shoots that is ready to be harvested.

Microgreens are packed with nutrition and have big flavor. That is why they have become popular with chefs and home cooks. They are used for salads, as garnishes, or a fresh snack. I keep a tray on the dinner table, and my family cuts them right from the tray. Popular varieties of microgreens are sunflower, and pea shoots.

The plan for Inchworm Microgreens is to offer a variety of greens ranging from micro herbs like basil and cilantro, to micro salad greens like arugula, beet greens, pea shoots, broccoli, sunflower, spicy radish greens and more.

How do I get Inchworm Microgreens?

Come to the Westside Farmers Market, and pick  up a tray. Or ask for a fresh harvested bag of microgreens. I will be there all summer.

For restaurant inquiries please email me:

I can provide tastings at your restaurant by appointment.

Thanks
Inchworm Microgreens Farm
Brian Steinberg
Ann Arbor, MI

12 responses to “Inchworm Microgreens

  1. Helen Slomovits

    Hi, I met you at the Homegrown Fair. Our family would be interested in your microsprouts – particularly pea, sunflower, cilantro and basil. Please let me know about availability, and we’d probably appreciate delivery – we’re on the westside in Ann Arbor. Thanks and all the best with your gardening!

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  7. Hi,
    I was jut wondering where one would procure non gmo sugar beet seeds? I really want to start growing them in my home garden but am having a really hard time finding organic and/or non gmo seed!
    Thank you!

  8. That is the cutest little thing ever! I want a pet woodchuck.

  9. Hello!

    I’m interested in starting to sprout my own microgreens for health + money savings. I have a couple Q’s for you:
    1) Is it cost effective for a non-commercial operation?
    2) Do I need to compost the soil after every time I sprout greens or can I reuse the soil?
    3) Do you have pics of your hoop house? I’d love to see your setup!
    Cheers!
    M

    • Hi M,

      For 1) It is cost effective. All you need is 10-20 standard size grow trays, seed and soil and a place to gorw inside or out. I grow mine outside, without a hoop house.

      2) You will either need to compost (preferred) or break up the soil because the idea with these trays is density. When the spouts are ready to harvest it will be a dense bed of sprouts with a thick root bound soil like a 1 x 2 brick of sod. That is a good thing because half of what I grow is pea shoots, which nitrogen fix the soil when it breaks down.

      Maybe a tumbling composter will help break the soil down quicker.

      Good Luck

      CB

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