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Tucked away in Plano is a small, urban operation called Nook Farms that produces today’s hottest gourmet garnish, microgreens. Owner Chris Campomanes moved from NYC a couple of years ago, and after realizing how business-friendly Plano is, he decided to start his own business.
Two U.S. farmers inspired Chris to launch his newfound, part-time career. A Fort Worth farmer was interviewing an Oregon farmer on his business-centered podcast called The Survival Podcast. Chris learned he was unrestricted by land size and schedule and that urban farming still allows for a full-time day job.
Microgreens vs. sprouts
Microgreens are very delicate, young veggies that grow in soil for an average of one to three weeks from seed to feed, and are the first true leaves of herbs and vegetables. Nook grows theirs for nine to 14 days. Microgreens only grow in size from 1 to 3 inches, but “[they] have insanely more taste and nutrients than the full-grown veggie because the seed has not yet used up its energy to grow as a plant.”
Sprouts and microgreens are often confused for one another; however, there are some key differences. The germination period for sprouts is just three days and they are grown in water. They’re known for being at high risk for growing bacteria, but that is only because the sanitation process is extreme and has to be carefully followed.
“Having a tie into the community is important, which is why Nook Farms is looking to build relationships with local businesses and people,” says Chris. Whiskey Cake recently signed a deal with Nook Farms, which Chris finds to be “super cool” and he’s excited to be a part of what they do as a company.
Chris, too, began dipping his hands in sales at the Dallas Farmers Market in March, and is looking to join other farmers markets where microgreens are needed. He looks forward to interacting with local neighbors and friends.
Another way Nook Farms has built a relationship is by trade with a Dallas-based farmer. “I believe in sustainability and am an advocate for regenerative agriculture.” The soil and roots from the used microgreens are traded for chicken eggs. The roots are then sold as treats for rabbits and other pets, and Chris gets beautiful orange yolks.
What Nook Farms grows
Sunflower and arugula are favorites. Radish shoots and pea shoots are regularly grown too, while broccoli and kale are grown on occasion. Live trays of pea shoots are sold to Whiskey Cake, which they cut as they are used. Whole trays of wheatgrass are sold to individuals who are interested in juicing them at their freshest.
Chris is trying to build a Community Supporting Agriculture (CSA) for the wheatgrass. CSA can be described, in short, as a process where a community member supports a farm by signing up for a “membership” and in return the farm provides them with seasonal crop on a regular basis, usually weekly.
Nook Farms doesn’t use pesticides or chemicals to treat the microgreens and doesn’t use GMO seeds. All are naturally gluten-free too.
Next time you see the uber-popular food adornment, think of Nook Farms, or buy your own.