“Microgreens are profitable at a small scale and we love to be a small business that can interact directly with our clients,” says Oliver Homberg, co-founder at Boston Microgreens. “We scale not by expanding one farm, but by franchising our growing system and setting up a network of decentralized urban farms. We already have one set up in Beverly, Massachusetts and are already planning the next!”
Boston Microgreens supplies over 50 restaurants and about 100 residential accounts, all with its own distribution system. The greens are harvested in the morning, whereas the products are delivered directly to customers the same day.
Oliver Homberg (Photo credits: Alyssa Stone, Northeastern University)
Born with green fingers
Co-founders Oliver Homberg and Matt Alto were always very passionate about natural systems. At the time, they were growing plants in a derelict old city plot that they had renovated into a garden space. After coming across a YouTube video by Curtis Stone, probably like a lot of other microgreen growers, and had the fortune of having a great working relationship, a space to grow and customers right on our doorstep, they gave it a shot.
“Shortly after that we realized that we were pretty good at it,” says Oliver. “We built our company around chef convenience and the ultimate farm-to-table experience and have been hugely successful in the Boston restaurant industry.”
Inside the facility
Farm operation app
Oliver explains that the company initially started a software company based on the technology they built for its farm operation, which is still in development. It will be called the Microgreens Grow App which can handle and customize all aspects of a microgreens farm. Farmers can program in a variety of recipes and orders.
The system will tell them what to do and when to do it. Meaning, planting, harvesting, deliveries, inventory, data collection etc. It's a smart system that adjusts planting based on yield as it communicates directly with clients for a hands-off order management experience.
Ready for harvest!
The art of growing
Oliver says it’s all about timing when growing microgreens. Due to having a lot of crops with different grow configurations, all going to different places at different times, but they all have to be exactly the same! “This is why we designed our app which basically solves this problem entirely. Now we just sit back and watch the magic.”
Microgreens are amazing, according to Oliver, because they provide nutrition, flavor and a fun aesthetic ingredient all in one. They can be used as a garnish or as a primary ingredient and the plethora of different microgreen varieties makes them endlessly fun.
He adds, “We plan on enjoying our next few years of growth while setting up our network of decentralized farms under the Boston Microgreens brand. We are excited to see our microgreens app take off and help farmers all over the world. Our team also started a charity called the Boston Youth Farming Program that teaches children about the importance of healthy food, natural systems and community.”