BY RIANNE PEREDO
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an opportunity for one local business.
Marianas Homegrown Habitat is a microgreens grower that supplies Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill and has also fulfilled orders from hotels such as the Dusit Thani Guam Resort and Pacific Islands Club Guam.
Microgreens are tiny, tender edible greens which are harvested from between seven to 14 days after the initial planting process. Despite having a short shelf life, microgreens are not only attractive to look at, but also rich in nutrients such as vitamins A and C.
Jae L. Yu, general manager of Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill, and owner of Marianas Homegrown Habitat, said it launched around a year ago. “We handpick and we deliver [the microgreens] either the same day or within 24 hours. So, chefs have a great benefit of using them,” she said.
Because of COVID-19, orders from the hotels had decreased. However, Yu viewed it as opportunity to expand her customer base through Microgreen Guam, which involves individual sales via a website.
The company’s website, microgreenguam.com, is scheduled to fully launch in September.
Prices range from $1.50 to $3.75 per ounce for the 20 to 30 different varieties available, which include sunflower, basil and arugula.
“When I visited California back in the day, I realized how popular it was,” Yu said. “Every restaurant that’s a little bit high end — you go there and their presentations were beautiful. I felt like [for] the same steak, ‘why does theirs look yummier or prettier?’ and it’s all microgreens.”
The microgreens are grown within an indoor greenhouse; the temperature and other conditions that affect the plants are controlled and monitored.
The plants are grown in trays via vertical farming, which involves vertically stacked
layers of plants and a lighting system for each layer. Some of the plants are also grown hydroponically, or without soil.
Customers who order online from Microgreen Guam can pick up their orders at Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill or opt for delivery. According to Yu, the delivery option would be dependent on customer location and is under consideration. mbj