Is your business also affected during this Coronavirus crisis? We would like to share our story, how this is impacting us and our business. Firstly we would like to sum up how everything started, and then how we reacted. Hopefully you will be motivated and inspired, at the end of the blog post. Now, let’s get started.
These days it’s impossible to avoid the impact of coronavirus in the world. First time we heard about the virus was when it was mentioned in China back in January 2020. Back then in Europe we didn’t know how deadly it would affect our business because we operated normally till the 16th March. But it has recently and that’s why we are writing about it. Let’s dig into microgreens and impact of ‘Coronavirus’ time.
On 12th March Boštjan had normal delivery to the restaurants, who worked normally even though the situation in Italy was already very bad. Boštjan was talking with chefs about the upcoming event ‘Week of the restaurants’ which should happen from the 3rd week of March but nobody knew what would happen. This event is very important for our business. Usually it’s twice per year, in the spring, when nature is bursting and we supply restaurants with fresh wild plants, spring edible flowers and of course our microgreens. It’s like an overture into a successful year. The second time in the year is in the autumn, when nature provides a lot of crops for winter stock (pumpkins, kohlrabi, carrot, potato,…). And restaurants are working really well then. And you know how it goes, when they are working well, we are also. Since our business consists of (98%) working with restaurants, hotels and bars, we were so much dependent on them.
Around 11am on 13th March it was announced on the radio that the government is closing kindergartens and schools. This was just a first sign that public life will stop in a few days. On Saturday there was a new government announcement for all bars, restaurants and coffee shops that have to close down and people have to stay at home. They also closed the borders and announced that all citizens have to stay at home. Basically what happened is that over night we ran out of business with restaurants and hotels and we were wondering what now?
Dried microgreen mentha.
It’s a tough situation for everyone but what could we do?
It’s a tough situation for each and everyone who is in this position right now. In the first week after shutting down, public life and our customers were so depressed. We were trying to lower our costs as much as possible. By that I mean closing down all our microgreen production. We were running 14 racks + microgreens for 5 more racks that were already sprouting. We separated them into three different varieties.
First all the herbs (mentha, coriander,..) we dried for tea or used for cooking and sharing with our friends and family members. Next varieties like broccoli, mustard, etc. we ate them with salads, sandwiches, pastas, everywhere 🙂 as much as it was possible. Idea was also to make delicious pesto or sauce. We tried to figure out what else we could do with the microgreens? Option is for some green oil, herbal salt / sugar, or you can spice up some vinegar. What about soups? Boštjan did prepare a delicious pea soup. Here is the recipe:
Pea soup recipe
300g pea microgreens
3 dcl water
2 medium potatoes
spices (you can add what you like – curcuma, dime red pepper,…).
Cook potatoes separately. Blend microgreens with water in the blender, then pour into a bowl, add salt, pepper and other spices. Add smashed potatoes and mix together.
Soup from pea microgreens.
Sunflower, kale and the ones that are not spicy are also perfect to make smoothies. Some people are drying microgreens also or making powder from them. We tried with peas and it went ok, but we are more into fresh ones 🙂 What we also tried is we dried wild garlic and then we turned it into powder, and this my friends is something that is really astonishing. The flavor itself and the aroma is magnificent. That’s why we decided we will make some for our stock and sell them later on to our chefs and offer them to our customers. The thing with wild plants is that you really need to know what you are picking, and with wild garlic you need to be even more careful. This is the reason why people don’t want to go in the forest and pick them by themselves. And here is an opportunity for us.
But you know, you just can’t eat all of them, because there were so many of them. So a lot of them did end up on the compost. Sad, but true. In the first week we thought we could do the work which otherwise wouldn’t be done. Maybe repainting, general cleaning and some small repairs, or whatever comes to mind. We started preparing the soil outside for the edible flowers. And the ones that are already grown (wild one – violas and primroses), we were drying them for later, to sell them.
But there was a moment during the week that we felt something wasn’t right. We felt like a ‘black hole’ is somehow sucking us and pushing us to the bottom.The feeling was terrible. We tried not to read too much news related to coronavirus, but when everyone is talking just on this topic, it is somehow hard to avoid it. But you can minimize the news effect on you, if you decide to go this way. We were wondering what we could do instead of feeling sorry for ourselves. How could we turn this time into our benefit? We thought, there must be a way. If some of the companies are still working and making money, so can we. And the most important thing is preparing a plan. So we did.
A situation like the Coronavirus forces you into thinking ahead. Thinking out of the box.
We said to ourselves, you know what, now it’s really time for microgreens. We are growing something that people really need in those times. Microgreens are very healthy, full of nutrients, fresh and locally grown and we are delivering them. All benefits for people. And then all the sudden, a lot of local communities started to pop up and support local farmers and small businesses with ordering from them. And here we saw a big potential for us and the microgreen business.
You can see for yourself, how demand increased during coronavirus, that some of the companies just needed to limit their customers.
So order some seeds HERE , trays HERE, read our blog post how to start HERE and start growing. In a week from getting all the supplies, you can basically see the results. Microgreens are a really fast turn-around crop.
My friend texted me, and asked if I agree, that they share our offer to their community and offer them our fresh microgreens. I knew her from the beginning of our business, back then she had a vision of bringing farmers closer to the people and created a small market place. Starting was hard, but now they have a really big community with people who are truly fans and supporters of local food. This is an added value to their life. And I immediately said yes, of course. Few days before she called me, we decided to sow some microgreens, and sell them to households that know us. But then all of a sudden, she literally sold everything we had. That’s why we had sown much more for the upcoming week. Now we signed into many more supporting groups. And I became more active on social media and people are following us, and placing orders directly to us. You know, this feeling is really appreciative. Because you know that you are serving people and how much they and their families will benefit from us and our microgreens. Since we have spring right now, we also offered some wild plants (leaves of dandelions, wild garlic, fresh flowers…) and people are happy to bring all this nature directly to their door. For now, we are focusing only on our capital city, but if there would be enough inquiries in different areas, we will go for it. Here in Slovenia, national holidays are coming (easter time) and we also offer people also wheatgrass. We will see how it will sell 🙂
When the food supply is endangered more and more people are trying to grow their own food at home and be more self-sufficient. You can provide them with supplies (soil, growing medium, seeds, ..). And this is exactly what we did. We offered a growing kit, and this is a really good solution for all who can not get fresh microgreens delivered to their door, but still would like to eat them. Several varieties are very fast and easy to grow, like broccoli, kale, arugula, radish, mustard, kohlrabi, red cabbage, cress and children love them because of their neutral taste (except the spicy one).
From the first week of feeling depressed now we are even more thrilled, optimistic and excited for the future. We are preparing our new website (for the Slovenian market) including an online store. We will offer microgreen and sprouting seeds, conventional seeds for mature vegetables and edible flowers also. We will add some tools for gardening, and some other products to help gardeners deliver ordered products directly to their home without leaving their own homes. And what’s most important is that we will provide MICROGREEN SUBSCRIPTIONS to the areas that we personally are delivering.
This is a business model for the future. I would like to inspire you, to start promoting it and start offering it to your customers. The benefits of this model are huge. With this approach you already know in advance how much you need to sow so you will minimize your leftovers. You get faster feedback from customers. And customers receive something they need on a regular basis to their door. This saves them time, and they can not forget to order because order itself will turn up in front of their door.
I would like to pop up some good practices, that customers are really enjoying all the benefits with them.
- SUN BASKET – meal delivery for any lifestyle.
- PURPLE CARROT – The convenient way to cook up tasty, healthy plant-based meals that will leave you wanting more!
- GREEN CHEF – they offer a variety of easy-to-follow meal plans for every lifestyle
- URTH BOX – snack deliveries to your home.
- FARM FRESH TO YOU – organic vegetables &fruits delivery.
- FULL CIRCLE – organic vegetables &fruits delivery.
- PIQUANT POST – freshly ground, small batch spice blends with delicious recipes sent in a monthly subscription box.
- FOOD BLOGGER – learn how to start, grow & monetize your food blog
Nowadays everything sells through the internet. During coronavirus just even more, because people are afraid to go out and specially in the supermarkets. And here is your chance. Offer this on your website and I am sure people will grasp it. People are searching for this kind of product. Something that will add more value, more nutrients to their health and immune system. And you can provide them a solution. You just can not miss with microgreens. If you still don’t grow and sell microgreens, start now. This is a perfect time for starting a small business from home (since we are basically stuck in our homes, it’s even more suitable).
We are very optimistic for the future because we know that demand for microgreens is rising each month. You can clearly see this with Google Trend
More and more people are aware of what home grown food means. We are also putting more time in our React Green brand and preparing more content for all of you, that are reading our content. And we really are trying to help others with starting growing microgreens at home or perhaps an actual business someday. We appreciate each and every one of you, who are right now reading this blog post. If you would like to hear more from us, we just opened our youtube channel, where we will try to add more and more videos. Go and watch for yourself HERE. We also upload video with ‘coronavirus’ theme, click HERE.
Being more green, more forward looking, more sustainable, this will push us even further. We are definitely trying. We will offer biodegradable small containers in the upcoming months (just like the ones, that we have now). They will be already prepared for growing, because they will have holes in the bottom and the ones without holes, they will be perfect for non-soil mediums. Whether you are a commercial grower or home based enthusiast, with green aspects to our planet, you both will be satisfied. We are sure of that. To help us, we would appreciate it a lot, if you could just answer the bottom question with YES or NO answer button.
Our existing plastic trays with holes.
React Green Movement – Would you like to be a part of our reactgreen movement with a more green approach to growing microgreens? We are asking you if you would be interested in our own 100% plant-based, 100% biodegradable trays that won’t get moldy, and you could grow also long-term growing microgreens (1 month+) in them. They will look pretty much the same as our common trays/containers out of plastic now but with the green note of plants. This is a plan for the future. If you can take few minutes and answer in the Google Form we would really appreciate:
Want to learn more?
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