Steve and Rebecca Dugas do everything small, but in a big way.
And that includes the business they launched earlier this year, Nature’s Magic Microgreens.
What, you ask, are microgreens?
Well, simply put microgreens are any edible plant at the stage between sprouts and baby greens in which the earliest leaves turn green.
As to why microgreens, a flyer produced by the couple explains, “Microgreens are up to 40 times more nutritious than mature plants and the nutrients are more bio-available.”
Even if the bites are, well, micro, too.
It was Rebecca, a novelist, who first came across the world of microgreens on Facebook.
There a microgreens “farmer” posted his experiences which got her to thinking she and Steve also could grow microgreens, make money with the sale of microgreens and give her more time to write her books.
After watching a video on the process, Steve was on board.
The couple spent the winter living in their RV while traveling South Louisiana and Texas.
Steve experimented, growing microgreens on the counter.
By the time they returned to their tiny home south of Ladd Road in March, both were committed to the project.
They set up a small greenhouse next to the tiny house, giving half of the space to growing microgreens and half to Rebecca’s flowers and full-size vegetables. Her small outdoor vegetable garden in 2018 was laid low by cabbage looper moths and grasshoppers.
They took their first microgreens to Norman Farmers Market on April 27 and on May 24, they added Harvest from the Heart Farmers Market at Chandler Park.
Now they are growing demand for microgreens.
Steve said it is a delicate balance of time, temperature and moisture to bring microgreens to their peak on any given market day.
From sowing to harvest ranges from 7 to 14 days for the fast-growing microgreens.
The entire process depends on the type of seed. Some like sunflower and radish require four to eight hours soaking before they are spread on very thin hemp fiber netting to germinate.
Steve sanitizes all the seeds with a solution of white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
Plants are grown without pesticides or fertilizer. The clamshell containers in which they are placed for customers are made from a corn-based bio-plastic that is compostable.
But they encourage conservation by offering a discount on future purchases to customers who bring their cleaned clamshells with them to market.
The seed matting is placed in plant trays and covered with seeds by hand. The trays remain in the tiny house until the seeds germinate. Then they are moved to the greenhouse.
Steve said there’s nothing special about the seed varieties used. He purchases most seeds from Eckroat in Oklahoma City.
The sunflower seeds, however, come from Oklahoma-grown sunflowers and those he buys from Ross Feed and Seed in Chickasha.
The current microgreens line-up includes lettuce, dill, radish, sunflower, kale, beet, broccoli, brussel sprout, red cabbage and fenugreek.
The latter, Steve explained, was “a total lark and people just loved it.”
Because production times vary for different plants, the couple doesn’t have every variety available at every market. But they do strive for variety, offering the public five or six to choose from.
The sunflower is Steve’s personal favorite – and the buying public’s as well.
Rebecca said Steve is the salesperson.
“Whatever he decides to focus on at market is what sells,” she said.
Time will tell what the future holds for Nature’s Magic Microgreens.
Steve hopes eventually to sell to restaurants.
For now though he’s content to work in the greenhouse, growing the business with repeat customers whose taste buds are satisfied one micro bite at a time.
“Honestly,” he said, “this way I can garden and not get on my knees.”