Growing DoSo Microgreens
Located in Sainte-Clotilde (Montérégie-Ouest, just outside Montreal), our farm has been growing microgreens since 2013. Growing vertically in a 1500 square feet space, right now we are only using a third of our production capacity. We can produce up to 56 cycles during the year, which comes out to 285,0oo microgardens per year, or about about 0.7 hectares of farmland! Our goal is to grow our company as much as possible in as little space as possible. This constraint has forced us to optimize our operations to be more creative and rigorous so our production can run as smoothly as possible.
Quality Raw Materials
All our products follow the MAPAQ hygiene and cleanliness standards and have been certified organic by Ecocert since 2007.
We were also ranked 1st by the EnvironeX laboratories in 2018, which shows the level of our hygiene and cleanliness standards.
Local, Organic Soil – Growth Medium
DoSo grows its microgreens in soil as opposed to compacted food waste, such as coconut or hemp. We use a high-quality organic, local soil designed by Mother Nature herself (and Fafard, too) to germinate our seeds.
Although repurposing food waste is an admirable initiative, we simply don’t need it to make the best growth medium. Soil, on the other hand, is a complex and living medium. It has the ability to adapt to the plant, and if we used food waste to make a plant grow, we would very quickly need to add fertilizer. Also, these mediums decompose quickly fr being in contact with the moisture necessary to grow a young plant — moisture that, in turn, can introduce a host of problems. But soil can change the amount of moisture it wants to hold, allowing respiration and root development, all while releasing nutrients for the plants. Simply put — the earth is life.
Over half of a microgreen’s weight is water. This is why we choose to use reverse-osmosis filtered water, a purification system that allows nothing but water molecules to pass through. This decision has left us with a higher quality product and helps us avoid problems during early growth stages.
DoSo only uses organic seeds (no GMOs or chemical processes). In addition, all our batches are tested after production. Since a seed is a living thing, no two of our batches are the same! So we must constantly change our growing methods in accordance with how each batch turns out.
To help take care of the environment, we only use reusable containers. We reduce packaging to the minimum necessary to make sure our products stay fresh.
- Reuses and washes each of its growing containers by hand.
- Encourages you to reuses its containers to start growing your own plants!
- Has implemented a deposit system for zero-waste stores.
- Is happy to take back cardboard packaging strips
- Uses compostable or recyclable bags for spent products.
Every DoSo product is a craft product!
Most of our production processes are done by hand with a unique method and skill set developed over years. That being said, we are currently working on automating some of our production processes with the Alte Engineering Cooperative
Each microgarden has its own pre-watered, individually pressed soil.
Rinsing and Soaking
After visually inspection (manual removal of problem plants) and testing of the germination specifics, each batch is rinsed three times:
- Rinsed to waken the seeds from being dormant
- Soaked and cleaned with a hydrogen peroxide/water solution (as recommended by the ACIA) in order to kill any bacteria
- Soaked in clear water
Seeding is actually done by hand. It require a lot of time, experience and dexterity. The technique must be adapted to the shape and size of the seeds, while ensuring a uniform density for each variety! Density is a crucial aspect of getting the desired taste, texture and color.
As you can see, the seeding process takes quite some time to master. We are working on automating this step as well!
After the seeding and watering stages are complete, the plates are stored on a shelf with a germination cover for three days. Relative humidity (RH) stays around 80 to 90%, and the temperature is a little colder there than in the workshop.
At this stage, no light is needed since the seedling feeds itself completely off the energy in the seed.
Culture Growth and Environment
Once the germination period is complete, the plates are placed under an LED grow light until the microgreens are ready to be sold. The plants are regularly watered and inspected during this stage of growth. – Another process we are automating!
Temperature, humidity, ventilation and air filtration are constantly monitored in the workshop.
Once the cotyledons (embryonic leaves in the seed) start to bloom, it’s time to transfer the microgardens to the sales packaging! We use this time for one final inspection of each product.
Another process … we do by hand.
Then we store the microgardens just above freezing (4C) to slow the microgreens’ growth and to ensure they stay fresh longer.
Microgardens are stored for up to 3 weeks (sometimes a month even) in conditions that maintain the cold chain. DoSo then uses a refrigerated truck to deliver the products.
Online or in stores, delivery available at pick-up points or by mail for non-perishable products.
- Microgardens (ready to harvest) 5×5″
- Whole trays (ready to harvest) 5×5″
- Microgreen arrangements (edible gift in reusable pot)
- DoSoFais (pre-cut bunches) and cut individual varieties
- Bulk (in-store zero-waste)
- Edible flowers (seasonal)
- Seeds, starer kits and microgreen grow accessories