Moncton man grows superfoods in tire factory basement
Eric Comeau has been growing microgreens for 6 years and now they can be found around the province
A Moncton man is growing green superfoods in the basement of an old tire factory.
Eric Comeau began growing microgreens such as watercress, pink radish and wheat grass six years ago for himself and his family. He now owns Vital Source Nutrition and sells his products throughout the province.
"I've grown in much worse places," he said.
Comeau used to to grow his microgreens in his basement, and has also grown the greens in a garage.
"As long as the space is clean and well-kept it's no problem. The space I use now is about 1,700 square feet. It's ideal conditions for growing.
"If I had a greenhouse outside, and there was a huge snowstorm, it could collapse, which does happen and I could lose my whole crop."
He grows microgreens because they're cheap, easy to grow and require very little energy.
"I've done a cost breakdown and light consumption per tray is about 33 cents. I make minimum of $10 per tray.
"Microgreens don't require a whole lot of light, compared to things like tomatoes and kale. Most of their nutrition comes from the seed pod. Within the first seven days of growth the plant actually contains its most vitamins, minerals and enzymes out of its whole life cycle."
Since microgreens can be produced on a week cycle, Comeau is able to time his harvest and guarantee production.
It's been four years since he began selling the microgreens at the Dieppe Market, but he says he still needs to explain what they are to some buyers.
"People used to look at me sideways. I used to have a lot of signage on my booth just to educate people."
Real Food Connections is his distributor for New Brunswick and his microgreens can be found in places outside of Moncton.
More people are growing their food in an urban environment, but not nearly enough are, according to Comeau.
"It's minimal compared to the demand and especially the need for something like that. There's not a whole lots of government support, or even public support because of misinformation and education.
"People assume as long as the eat their vegetables every day it doesn't really matter where it comes from," he said.
Comeau would like to see more urban growers.
Comeau said his friend began growing mushrooms after learning more about his operation, and says she is doing very well in the city.
"Prices of fruits and vegetables are going up every year. People spend a big part of their salary buying food but it's not necessarily good food to eat."