NORM Larcombe and John Fitzgerald’s gel of an idea of growing organic microgreens came to fruition in 2017 when they established Burst Microgreens.
Mr Larcombe is a qualified mechanic but has been in the sheep industry for most of his life with a 61 hectare (150 acre) sheep farm where he raises Dorper sheep for fat lambs at Moriac in Victoria.
Mr Fitzgerald has an organically certified 4ha (10ac) farm at nearby Gherang where he grows garlic, capsicums and tomatoes and sells direct to wholesale market.
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“Both being local to the area, we have been friends for a long time,” Mr Larcombe said.
“We decided to do microgreens because we saw a possible market opening for a clean, easy to use grow medium.
"They are also very nutritious and we can easily control the environment we grow in.
"After researching microgreens we found there is quite a bit of information on the health benefits so people are quite aware of nutrition these days.”
The microgreens are grown in a controlled environment room with seed being sourced from several places.
Some seed is grown at Mr Fitzgerald's organic farm and additional seed sourced from Green Harvest organic and Eden seeds organic.
“Currently we are growing rocket, mustard, radish, cress, fenugreek, broccoli and sunflower with mustard, radish, rocket and cress being our best sellers," he said.
"We find a stable temperature, correct light and good airflow promotes good growth - it's 14 days from planting until they are ready for sale.
"Kept in the right condition they will be fresh for two weeks plus in the fridge.
"Fully compostable punnets are used with the greens being raised in vegan-friendly agar as a growing medium as it has the nutrition the plant needs as well as being a clean, grit-free medium to grow in that's easy to use.
"There’s no mess or cutting, simply pull fresh shoots, rinse and eat.”
No watering is required as the sprouts obtain all the water and nutrients needed from the agar gel.
As a clever marketing tool the agar has been coloured for easy identification.
This can be especially useful in a busy restaurant kitchen environment where the greens could all look similar but are individually suited to different dishes.
“We thought colour co-ordination would help identify each micro green and also have eye appeal,” Mr Larcombe said.
“We use powdered beetroot, turmeric, red cabbage and bi-carb soda as our colourings so radish is in red agar, mustard in orange, rocket in a green gel, etcetera.”
Along with farmers markets and selling to restaurants eventually they would also like to expand into the wholesale market.
“We can grow to order, whatever green or size of punnet you require, just ask us,” Mr Larccombe said.
- Visit: www.burstmicrogreens.com.au