Courtesy of Wally S., Wally's Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon SK
My operation in zone 3 Canada has been a year round one for many years. Now I'm starting to hear from other SPIN farmers who are usually trading their tillers for a snow blowers about now, that winter markets are booming, and that they, too, plan to keep production going.
For instance, a nursery owner in Minnesota is setting up a room to do 36 10x20 trays indoors under lights, and is planning to provide microgreens to his customers from November to May. He wants to know what kind of yield to project from each 10 x 20 tray, and the pricing he should set. Here's what I suggest:
- Try doing about 10 trays per week for starters.
- Think about adding micro radish to the peas for a salad mix. Very popular. Can also sell them as stand alone greens.
- I get about 1/2 lb. of micro radish per tray. About 1 lb. of pea greens.
- Stay with SPIN’s mix and match pricing of $3.00 2/$5.00, and unitize accordingly, with the idea of targeting at least $20 of revenue per tray. [Note that in some markets SPIN farmers are reporting they have been able to push SPIN's pricing benchmark to $4 or 2/$8].
- To see if you can save on costs, try growing without lights initially, just room light.
- Add lights, say to a max of 8 hours per day, and observe what it does for your production, and determine whether you need them.
- Some commercial growers grow pea greens/micros in darkness, to get a yellow looking product, which chefs like.
There are many ways SPIN farmers can continue to make hay while the snow flies. Here are the SPIN guides that can give you some more ideas on how to keep your cash flow going during the winter months: Indoor Farming with MicroGreens Four Season Marketing