Market Spotlight: The Microgreen House

by Jennifer Alexander Ruple

Tony McKinley is infatuated with plants and vegetables. The creator of The Microgreen House picked up gardening as a hobby two years ago before making his business official. “I love plants, and I was looking for something to do in the wintertime because my family and I love leafy greens,” he said.

Tony McKinley of The Microgreen House harvests fresh microgreens for Elaine Hardman.

McKinley, originally from Detroit, currently lives in Toledo with his wife, Amber, and their four children, all ages nine and under. His business made its public debut on June 1 at the opening of the Sylvania Farmers Market.

Each week, you will find McKinley and his family at the market where he brings baby plant versions of broccoli, sunflowers, cantaloupe and peas. Arugula is a new addition to the lineup. “Microgreens are very nutritious. They pack a punch with higher nutrient levels than mature plants,” he explained.

McKinley grows his greens inside his home where he can control the lighting with grow lights, the temperature and humidity. The greens are planted in trays on a large rack. After seven or eight days, they are ready to be taken to the market. “I’ve found that to be the optimal growth time for the best flavor,” he said.

“Microgreens are great for garnishes, soups, salads, sandwiches and smoothies,” suggested McKinley. To ensure ultimate freshness, McKinley harvests the microgreens on-site for his customers.

In addition to growing microgreens, McKinley has a garden in his yard where he grows watermelons and cucumbers. “I like the idea of being self-sufficient, and we love to eat healthy foods.”

Aside from the Sylvania Farmers Market, McKinley accepts and delivers special orders from his website

A tray of China Rose Radish microgreens is ready for harvesting at the Sylvania Farmers Market.

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