Vendor Spotlight: Food on the Grow
When did you decide to start growing micro greens? What was your inspiration?
The genesis of Food on the Grow came as a result of an unfortunate accident. Dawn-Marie (one of our business partners) suffered a debilitating concussion at work a few years back and was not able to be very active for several months. She and her husband Dan decided to grow microgreens mainly for their amazing health benefits, but also to give Dawn-Marie a hobby that was relaxing while still being productive. Growing a microgreen garden can be very therapeutic.
As Dawn-Marie was healing they discovered that a lot of other people knew about the benefits of MicroGreens and wanted a good source for themselves. Dan is very business minded and crunched the numbers to see what they could come up with. Presto, a business was born and they started selling at their local farmer’s market. One thing led to another and before they knew it they had a full blown MicroGreens and hydroponic herb growing business in their small town, selling to many restaurants and grocery stores. They had a very successful, exciting year and made the decision to sell the business to nearby trusted farmers in order to travel and see more of the world.
Meanwhile, Dawn-Marie’s parents in Coquitlam were becoming very enthusiastic about Microgreens and hydroponics and asked if there was a way that the 4 of them could collaborate – while still allowing the kids the freedom to travel. Presto, a re-genesis – if you will. Dan and Dawn-Marie have shared their knowledge, helped build the growing systems and work remotely while Melody and Chris (ie. Mom and Dad) are taking care of the day to day growing and selling. Everyone brings something very unique to the table to create a fantastic team and family business. THAT is how Food On The Grow came about.
We now operate out of a farm in Pitt Meadows with a holistic, organic approach. Though we do use some technology to achieve amazing results for flavour and nutrition, we insist on using only NON GMO, organic seeds and growing mediums. We always look for ways to produce and deliver the freshest and highest quality product. For example, most of our FOTG MicroGreens are available LIVE. This gives You the opportunity to actually be the farmer and harvest as you need it for the freshest food possible.
Where do you grow your micro greens? What are some of the greatest challenges?
As mentioned above we grow the MicroGreens on a farm in Pitt Meadows. Even though it’s a real farm, we grow all the Microgreens indoors in a climate controlled building with hydroponic flood tables and LED lights. This is because it is a year round operation so it wouldn’t be realistic to grow MicroGreens outside with so many unpredictable variables.
The biggest challenge so far has been sorting out our planting and growing schedule. We discovered that our FOTG greens were exceptionally happy in the special indoor environment and are growing even faster than expected. We’ve adjusted the timing and have a pretty good system going now.
What is your favourite way of enjoying your product? Do you have a favourite kind?
Hmm, that’s a great question. We love mixing MicroGreens in almost all of our foods so it’s hard to pick a favourite but definitely as a topping on any salads, sandwiches, meats or pasta. We also like to dehydrate any leftover MicroGreens and blend them into a powder, then sprinkle them on eggs, chicken or other meats – just like a spice – or add to morning smoothies for a nutrient boost.
The pea shoots might be our favourite overall, but radish is a close second simply because it is so flavourful – try sprinkling some on your pizza for a little extra zing. It’s also one of the most nutritious MicroGreens. And of course the broccoli is so yummy and has such amazing health benefits. Oh, and can’t forget the Sunnies (sunflower shoots) with their rich nutty taste.
Why is supporting local important to you?
Because you get to meet the farmer and look them in the eye. You can tell a lot more by body language and tone of voice than you can from reading product packaging written by professional copywriters and their lawyers. Supporting local growers goes beyond keeping your dollars circulating closer to home, it supports families who you can interact with, rather than faceless corporations. We believe that supporting local is good for the whole country, not just the area that we personally live in. Any chance we have to deal with a friend, neighbour or small business, we will do it!
What do you like the most about selling at farmers markets?
Oh that’s easy. It’s FUN!
We just love the interaction with our customers and the other vendors. It’s a real friendly atmosphere with live music, amazing food carts (and smells), the freshest produce and meat you can find anywhere. We always buy several products from other vendors just because it’s food that we would normally buy at the store anyway, but here it’s fresh and much more wholesome.