Recently, basements and garages have cultivated a new trend in home-grown businesses. Armed with little more than ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive, microgreen growers are transforming the unused corners of their dwellings into profitable farming operations.
“It’s a great gateway crop,” says Don DiLillo, owner of Finest Foods in Huntington, New York, for ushering in a new breed of novice farmers. After finishing college seven years ago, the “video game- playing, beer-drinking kid” dusted off a section of his parents’ Long Island cellar to launch his micro-farm. With $3,000 allocated for equipment and many hours spent watching YouTube tutorials, he built a steady farmers market following, selling tender, week-old peas, sunflower, radish, and broccoli sprouts.
Now 27, DiLillo has seen his business blossom. After expanding to a vacant neighborhood deli in 2019, he’s since set up shop in his grandparents’ former home, which he shares with his girlfriend and fellow farmer, Alissa Yasinsky. The 800-square-foot basement and garage provide ample space for germination, cultivation, and packaging, he says, with the vertical shelf configuration leaving plenty of room to grow. “I could triple [production] and still be able to operate it from my home,” says DiLillo.
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