Growing DoSo Microgreens

Our Company

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.

Reverse-Osmosis Water

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.

Organic Seeds

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.

Environment-Friendly Containers

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.

DoSo :

  • 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.

Production Method

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

 

Growth Medium

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:

  1. Rinsed to waken the seeds from being dormant
  2. Soaked and cleaned with a hydrogen peroxide/water solution (as recommended by the ACIA) in order to kill any bacteria
  3. Soaked in clear water

Seeding

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!

Germination

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.

Harvest

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.

DoSo’s 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

 By: Vicky Lefebvre-Vincent

Welcome to DoSo microgreens!

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Vicky, and I’m the founder of DoSo microgreens. I’m also a huge foodie and have always been interested in the agro-food field. Following this passion, I studied professional cooking at ITHQ in 2005 and then worked in the restaurant field shortly thereafter. I started growing microgreens and sprouts from home (in Montreal at the time), since I was super unsatisfied with the retail market’s lack of freshness and diversity. So I tried a few things out and, soon enough, loved what I was seeing. Friends and family started asking me for bunches of plants every week, and voilà, this project began. However, DoSo’s flagship microgreen product — MICROGARDENS — had not yet come into fruition.

This would be in 2013, when running a market test of the Val-David Christmas market. I decided to try offering microgreens directly in their planters, ready to be harvested. Things sold well, and I received some promising comments and a sizeable demand. So the microgarden became our company’s main product. During this time, I graduated from the University of Quebec – Montreal in gastronomical management and sociocultural practices. After this, I continued my studies, earning a degree in administration from HEC Montreal.

So there’s a short overview of my background, which, truth be told, is much less straight and narrow. Entrepreneurship is an amazing adventure when we dare cast our fears aside and open ourselves up to others.

The CLD des Jardins-de-Napierville contributed a lot to our takeoff, in 2015, and allowed me to take part in a program that supports independent workers. This support allowed me to put in place my business foundations before bringing in employees. Then in 2016, we qualified for the MAPAQ PROXIMITY program, which allowed us to create our brand image with G l’agence as well as our marketing plan. Finally, in 2018,we qualified for a grant to establish a Financière Agricole Canda company. Multiple partners allowed us to make the best decisions and propel our  company forward.

DoSo Microgreens was legally incorporated in 2017 and became a family company in 2018.

So far, including myself, there are five of us:

  • Monique Lefebvre (my mother and co-owner): production manager
  • Véronique Ménard: our right-hand woman for production and sales
  • Céline Naud: manager (my second brain)
  • Jonathan Lucier (spouse and co-owner): our Sunday helper
  • There is also Benoît Vincent (retired father and co-owner) who isn’t technically an employee but who still helps out when it comes to strategy and marketing (he worked in the agro-food industry)
  • My step-parents and in-laws also helped us a lot with this undertaking. This has become a family business in every sense of the word!

Our collaborators:

  • Marine Le Berre: Photographer, video maker and food stylist. Blog: Mlle Coton
  • Solange Adéchian: Specialized in food research and regulations, nutritional health coach and naturopathy. You can follow her YouTube channel Sister’s healing
  • Marie-Claude Boucher: Our edible flower guru and “house tester”. You can follow her on: fleurs, joie et gourmandises
  • Daphné Grenier-Berthiaume: friend and trained agriculturalist, Daphné did her senior BAC project right when we started our company in 2013 to see how our methods held up to the literature.

And that’s it! This is the team behind your products.

We are happy to help put life into your dishes!

Vicky Lefebvre-Vincent
– Your micro-grower