Farmer Focus: Briar Ridge Microgreens
Briar Ridge Microgreens
Lauren & Greg Baribault
When I reached out to Greg and Lauren at Briar Ridge Microgreens I was so delighted to see that their their family farm has so much to offer, with different family members managing each tether. Having a family run farm has always been one of my biggest dreams; my sisters and I have even hatched future plans of one day working the land together with our partners! I have found the Baribault Family's story to be incredibly inspirational and a helpful example of what it means to run a sustainable farm business. Read below to find out how Briar Ridge Microgreens found their way from aquaponic greenhouse vegetable production to a thriving microgreen business!
1. How long have you been growing microgreens and what inspired you to start?
We have been growing microgreens for around 4 years. We started a few flats in our basement with fluorescent grow lights in order to have fresh greens for the table year-round. Before becoming involved in microgreens we had been growing full grown vegetables in our greenhouse aquaponically year round. We raised tilapia and trout (depending on the time of year) in a 500 gallon in-ground tank. We grew all of our vegetables in two expanded shale grow beds and a small float tank. After about two years of doing this we decided to try something a little different and so we read up on microgreens. After growing microgreens for ourselves for several years we decided to see if any local chefs would be interested in our microgreens. We were well received from the get go. Over the next six months we worked hard to get into as many restaurants as possible and expand our grow facility at the same time. To date we have grown to offer close to 50 varieties of microgreens and can be found in 19 restaurants in Connecticut.
2. Tell us a bit about your methods for growing your microgreens.
We grow with certified organic soil and try to only use organic seed. We grow both in a greenhouse and an indoor facility. In our indoor facility we use T5 fluorescent lighting and LEDs.
3. How has your local community helped your business?
Luckily where we are located in Connecticut chefs are very receptive to local farms and they try to use as much local produce as they can. This has really help us to grow as quickly as we did and expand into growing so many different varieties.
4. What is your favorite microgreen to grow and why?
We love pea tendrils. They have so many great uses, from stir frys and salads to making delicious homemade pea soup.
5. If you could tell a beginning farmer anything, what would it be?
Don’t get discouraged when it comes to learning how to grow. It does take time and a lot of trial and error to get everything just right, but in the end the reward is well worth it..