Microgreens grower overcomes food safety challenges

Microgreens are becoming increasingly popular. Their intense colors and dense flavor profile make them ideal to work with for chefs. Nowadays, food retail is also an important outlet for microgreens. On the grower end, they have a very quick turnaround time as they can be harvested after about 12 days, allowing them to accommodate the growing demand.



Food safety is concern  
Among the challenges the microgreens industry is faced with, food safety generates the greatest concern. “It is the biggest barrier to enter this industry,” says Ian Adamson of Greenbelt Microgreens. “Harvesting practices is one of the sources of contamination. Head shears are still being used in the industry,” declared Adamson. From a food safety perspective, there is a higher risk of contamination, if not properly sanitized, but for smaller operators, access to capital is a barrier to finding a solution for the issue.



Microgreen tray harvester
Four years ago, Greenbelt Microgreens purchased a harvester from a California company that used it to harvest field lettuce. The band saw blade worked well for a heavy stem product like lettuce, but not for a small and delicate product like microgreens. “The microgreens were just thrown out of the tray,” shared Adamson. That was not the only concern. The plant hearts were being trapped and crushed under the pulley resulting in loss of product and making it difficult to clean. In the process of finding a solution, “we partnered with Mosur Machine,” said Adamson. With Adamson’s vast knowledge of greenhouse microgreens, together with Mosur Machine’s years of experience in the food processing industry, the Micro-Harvest, microgreen tray harvester was developed. The overall sanitary design, solid stainless steel construction and food grade materials, ensures it meets food safety requirements. In addition, the custom designed stainless steel blade “makes it suitable to cut the 37 more delicate varieties, asserts Adamson, we are very happy with the outcome.”



Greenbelt Microgreens is based in Gormley, Ontario. “We are the largest Organic GAP certified grower in Canada. This builds in an extra layer when it comes to food safety and water quality,” mentioned Adamson. Recently, the company purchased a facility in Hamilton, ON. The new facility is 3.5 times larger than the current facility and will allow Greenbelt to grow 4.5 acres of microgreens as of late December. In addition to the 75 independent retailers they serve, they also supply grocery chains; Longo’s, Sobeys and Whole Foods.

Greenbelt Microgreens and Mosur Machine continue to work in partnership to bring harvesting technology to the global market for efficient, food safety certified harvesting of microgreens.

For more information:
Ian Adamson 
Greenbelt Microgreens


or

Chantel Dias
Mosur Machine Company
Tel: 905-677-1404


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