It’s not easy to start a new business; but when I retired and found much more time to spend on our farm in South Jersey, I decided to do just that.
Our farm is relatively small and is not suited for mass production. It is a beautiful property, with pine woods and two small lakes, a hay field, and a large greenhouse which stood empty for a couple of years after we first moved in.
We never considered clearing our woods in order to raise hundreds of chicken or plant fields and fields of strawberries; we’d make do with what we have, and make it work for us.
Though our ambitions swelled as we were approaching retirement, it became clear that the business could not be very labor intensive (think arthritis and back pain). However, we wanted our business to be engaging, productive, and social as well.
So we came up with the idea to sell microgreens! Our goal is to grow these beautiful, small, nutritious plants and deliver them to creative chefs. We found our first customers in 2016, and so the new enterprise of Soel Farm begun to take shape.
This story is about the ups and downs of our journey. I want to express my gratitude to Mark Braunstein, the author of “Microgreen Garden”, from which I gained a ton of knowledge, as well as Kevin Espiritu and his tutorials on Epic Gardening. Honestly, I don’t know how people used to start new ventures before the Internet.
But with all great help and support from microgreens growers across the net, there were still were many things I’ve had to discover on my own. While small, microgreens sure can keep this retiree busy and engaged. Each of these plants has its own temper and character — it is my challenge to figure them all out. So keep reading to follow our adventure and the lessons we learn!