When harvest time comes to Vibrant Farm in Guthrie MN, DaNae Johnson’s crops stand about 2 1/2” tall. She grabs the leaves with one hand and cuts the stems with a sharp knife. “When most people are thinning out their gardens, that’s about the stage of when I harvest,” DaNae explains. “They’re tiny little plants and they’re just power packed with nutrients.”
These tiny, nutrient-dense plants are called microgreens. They come in a variety of textures, colors, and varieties. DaNae grows them in a converted garage she calls her “farm room.” The room is equipped with fresh water and heat so she can grow plants year-around.
She also grows shoots, which are bigger and more substantial, and include sunflowers, peas and radishes. Microgreens have leaves and are fine and dainty. DaNae’s microgreens include broccoli and alfalfa. She plants and harvests about a hundred thousand seeds every week.
Shoots are used more like lettuce – on sandwiches, tacos and wraps. Microgreens are more nutrient-dense, where the shoots add bulk.
DaNae sells at Harmony Food Co-op in Bemidji and at farmers’ markets like the Walker market at Green Scene and Bemidji’s Natural Choice market. She also offers a CSA and bulk sales from her farm. DaNae said restaurants were among her first customers pre-pandemic but she worries about them now. “Right now the restaurants are really on hold, so we’re just kind of waiting on that…I am concerned for our local restaurants. This is the time when they need to ramp up for their business, but we’ve just got to be patient and support them as much as we can curbside.”
Vibrant farm sells a variety of veggies and bedding plants in season. DaNae takes orders and delivers plants curbside at her farm. For more information, check out the Vibrant Farm website or their page on Facebook.
For lots more information, check out the full interview below!