How to Make $200,000 a Year Growing Microgreens
Updated: Oct 7, 2020
This low start up business doesn't require you to have land or even sunlight. It's relatively new in the food industry which means competition isn't that fierce.
And yes, some people really are making $200,000 a year growing microgreens.
But you need to know what this business entails, so make sure to read up on this free guide.
I first stumbled upon Microgreens searching for nutrient dense foods.
I'm very much into health and nutrition and am a biohacker. I like to experiment on my own body's capabilities and what I can do to improve and to trigger cell regeneration and anti aging.
After seeing Dr. Rhonda Patrick's (she's a cell biologist) excitement over sulforaphane's potency and its ability to block carcinogen-activating enzymes, I was hooked.
This is supposed to be a business article, why are we talking about science and words that are hard to pronounce and are probably made up?
You make a good argument.
And I think we need to file a case against those who keep using extremely difficult to pronounce words.
But in terms of why we need to bring up the benefits is because it's important in selling anything.
Take me for example, when someone tells me that a plant has the potential to improving gut health and destroy H. Pylori bacterium, I'm like, "Sign me up, where do I buy?"
And that was one of the biggest problems, I couldn't find broccoli sprouts that easily. They weren't found in my local grocery store.
And I live in an area that's health conscious, and yet I couldn't find it.
Broccoli sprouts incidentally has the highest amount of sulforaphane. It has 10 to 100 times the amount than most cruciferous vegetables.
So the only thing I could do was try to grow it myself.
And I don't have a green thumb!
I'm basically known as a plant killer.
Eating plants is being a plant killer. So let's not kid ourselves.
But also because I don't know the amount of water and how often to water plants. So I think I've oversoaked my plants to death.
So when I told my parents I was going to grow microgreens, they gave me this look.
You know the kind where you know they're thinking, "I think those plants are going to be in trouble. But we need to smile and make her think we're still proud of her."
And I didn't blame them for their silent but super loud thoughts.
I was desperate, I really wanted broccoli sprouts. I could taste it even though I didn't even know what they tasted like.
That's the power of knowing the benefits of a product and how it can improve someone's life.
Tell someone what the benefits are and they'll purchase things from you.
I did my research and settled on something I found on Amazon to try for myself.
I settled on the Kitchen Crop seed sprouter because I didn't need soil. Amazon link below:
Oh yeah, I was nervous.
Took me a few days to actually finally do it because I thought there's no way I could get this right.
But you know what, in your face (to my face, because I was my own biggest skeptic)!
It was so easy. Literally, I kid you not.
You just spread a few seeds on each tray and place it under the faucet three times a day. And let it do it's own thing.
Which it does well.
It knows how to grow.
Miraculous! It didn't really need me all that much.
And you know what I learned?
I learned, I still would rather just buy this from someone if they would grow it and sell it to me.
Because ain't nobody got time to for that!
So hint, hint!
This is where you come in and save the day.
This is how business works. Where there is demand, you supply.
And yes, there is a demand for this.
The Demand for Microgreens
The Global Microgreens Market is expected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 7.5% during the forecast period of 2020 to 2025.
Oh did I just talk about the awesomeness of Microgreens without even explaining what they are?
I'll remedy that now.
Microgreens are seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs. They're normally used to add color and flavor to meals. And they're much smaller than regular greens or "baby" greens.
The vitamins and mineral levels exceed those of full grown vegetables by more than forty times.
They have an aromatic flavor and concentrated nutrient content and they come in a variety of textures and colors.
Usually found in fancy restaurants, Microgreens demand is rising in the culinary industry.
But the demand now includes grocery stores, health stores, home chefs, families, and individuals.
There has been an increasing number of studies that point to the growing demand for locally sourced, organic vegetables and this includes microgreens.
Due to the higher price points at retail, microgreens are considered a premium product.
Microgreens have a fast turn around time ready to be delivered within 1 - 2 weeks, depending on the variety.
It took 5 days for me to grow my microgreens. I grew broccoli sprouts and alfalfa sprouts.
And it doesn't require a lot of space. Most people grow their microgreens in their basement or in their spare room. Which means you can grow it year round.
They're usually grown in trays, stacked on shelves, like this image:
Depending on where you live, the price of a standard tray 20" x 10" tray (product link below) to sell would be around $20 to $30 each tray.
And some sell by the pound for as much as $50 per pound.
With every business, you must know what it takes to start it or else you'll just be buying a bunch of random stuff
Even though growing microgreens is one of the lowest cost for startups, it's always best to know what you need and how much it will cost you.
I recommend starting with one four level shelf before scaling your business so you get a feel of how to grow microgreens and what varieties are in demand so you can adjust accordingly.
2-bulb, 4 foot fluorescent light fixture.
16 20' x 10" trays with drain holes.
Paper towels - this is to put over seeds when you start them
A spray bottle to keep your seeds from drying out.
A watering can - this is for when your plants get larger
There are plenty of Youtube videos on how to grow microgreens with and without soil. It's best to learn both so you can decide which way to go.
I have seen a difference with and without soil. The ones with soil seem to have larger plants than the ones without.
But your call.
Unless you're super confident with your microgreens growing skills, I'd start off with that planter like the one I purchased. And get to know how it all works.
There are several varieties of microgreens but some are more in demand than others:
Make sure you give your plants 8 hours of light per day which you can automate by putting your lights on timers.
And water them twice a day: Once in the morning and one in the evening.
A fun yay fact:
You don't need a license to sell fruits and vegetables if it's less than 2,000 pounds a day. Read more on that here.
But...there's nothing wrong by being super precautious and doing more research in terms of licensing in your area just in case.
Common Issues and How to Fix Them
Know the issues firsthand so you can fix them when you encounter them
ROT AND MOLD
This is caused by excessive temperatures and humidity.
Temperatures should be between 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 C) to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 C).
The ideal temperature for most microgreens is about 67 F (19 C).
And the ideal humidity is 50%.
If your seeds are new they need a dormant period when first harvested before they will sprout.
Oversoaking seeds can drown if you soak them for more than a couple of hours.
Underwatering is more of an issue during germination than overwatering. So never let your seeds dry out. But don't overwater them too.
I didn't really have this issue of oversoaking and underwatering with the tray I used because this tray had 4 levels with holes in all the trays.
It's highly recommended that you spread your seeds evenly across the tray to ensure they have their space to grow.
Because apparently seeds feel like other seeds are cramping their space.
And they get all get huffy about it, "I refuse to grow cause they're too close to me and I need me some me time!"
Research is Key
Before you plant every variety in the planet, do research as to what is in demand
In order to cut down on your cost and time, actually do some research by asking restaurants and chefs what they need.
They are one of your biggest buyers.
So get to know all the chefs in your area and join a farmer's market.
Give out samples and ask for feedback about your product.
If you are able to get four chefs to commit $50 a week that's $800 in your pocket each month for something that doesn't take too much effort to do in your spare time.
Chefs are looking for greens with bigger leaves and vibrant colors because they want volume on a plate and that wow factor.
The best sales agreement is cash on delivery. Get them to set up the time and amount. You deliver what was agreed upon. And they pay you the cash.
Join a Farmer's Market
When vendors sell at places like a farmer's market, they normally don't list the benefits of a product.
If it's chocolate, they don't need to.
It's delicious and that's all that matters!
Here's where you differentiate yourself: actually list what benefits a person gets with each of the microgreens.
You have no idea how powerful this is.
There are so many people like me who are always looking for something to make us healthier.
Do as much research as you can as to what plant does what to the body beneficially.
This is your selling point!
It's not just about how pretty microgreens can look on a $100 plate.
Nor is it just, "eat your vegetables it's good for you."
People want to know what it does to the body. You can't convince anyone to eat something if it's just a regular vegetable to them.
And microgreens aren't just regular vegetables. They're condensed with so much nutrients.
Just look it up and find out.
This means don't price your products too low.
Know the value of what you're growing.
Because they're really valuable.
And it's in the farmer's market that you can really sell the benefits to people because you get more time to explain to them how it can help them nutrition-wise.
This is how you'll be able to also let them know that you're willing to deliver to their homes for those who want convenience.
Keep Good Records
In order to optimize your business you need to find out what works and what doesn't
Don't just rely on what others have done with their own microgreens growing business. Actually keep your own records so you know what to improve upon.
For example try cutting back 1 hour of light per day and see if that works and thereby cutting electricity costs down.
Or record date and time seeds were soaked and what conditions of light were at that time.
I'm a huge advocate for recording things because I know what to do and what not to do.
With my own nutrition I actually record and weigh myself everyday.
Not to be obsessed about my weight. But I do it in a scientific sense to know what foods affect me in what way. And if there were any variables that changed things.
It's the same thing in business, good record-keeping will allow you to know what works and then scale that to the umpteenth degree.
Do Something Different
Where others just sell microgreens, dare to be different and stand out
When in a Farmer's Market, you can do so much more than just sell microgreens on a tray.
Because seriously, even though it's super beneficial, it's a bit dull to just see plants in a tray.
Why not actually make food with it and have people taste the samples with your awesome cooking.
Or make smoothies and mix up the microgreens with them.
There are lemonade fusions (which by the way is soooo good!) that has herbs in them. Mix your microgreens with drinks.
And you can sell your microgreens infused drinks!
The possibilities are endless!
If you can add microgreens with chocolate, let's talk.
Because you might be the best savant alive!
Scale Your Business By Being Online
Make it easy for people to find you and purchase from you by being online
A great selling point to customers is that they can easily find you online.
It's online that they get to know you even more and where you can showcase all the benefits of the microgreens that you're growing.
The more you provide useful information on each product like with a blog and video, the better. Because this establishes you as the person to go to when it comes to microgreens.
If you haven't read why your business should have a blog, make sure to read it here.
Growing microgreens is just one of the many awesome low startup businesses to have. And if you have a penchant for the plant world, why not get into tiny vegetable that pack a punch?
If you do end up doing this business, let us know how it all went. We'd love to feature you!
And don't forget to subscribe here to our free newsletter because we wouldn't want you to freak out and miss on some awesome goodies!