Grown in Zumbrota
By Jorrie Johnson
Just three months after Dean and Jayne Bredlau met in 2014, Jayne was in a serious accident and fractured her tibia and fibula. During her recovery, the couple spent time conversing about life, challenges and their faith in God. In September 2015, they married and began their life together in Zumbrota. Combining Dean’s passion for farming and Jayne’s interest in marketing, My Sweet Greens MN was born in 2016 out of a dream to get back to what’s real and meaningful.
GROWING THE BUSINESS
During 2017, Dean started growing trials with seeds from Johnny’s Seeds and retail flats and soil. They experimented with flats, seeding protocols, lighting and temperatures. In the meantime, Jayne was providing samples to an executive chef who became interested in purchasing the microgreens. They expanded their growing by setting up a small, movable greenhouse to capture the best seasonal sunlight. Eventually, they added second- and third-season extensions to the greenhouse for spinach, cressida, pak choi (bok choy), mizuna, arugula and various salad greens, microgreens and herbs.
In early 2018 the Bredlaus were invited to sell at a small, indoor farmers market in Faribault, Minnesota “We sold everything we brought: just harvested baby salad greens and microgreens. We were smitten with the whole farmers market scene,” Jayne explains. Last summer they participated in four area farmers markets. By the end of December, they had vended at more than 50 area farmers markets.
The Bredlaus quickly grew their retail business into several communities, stores and restaurants throughout southeastern Minnesota. They are regularly at the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market, where you can meet them and learn about their production. My Sweet Greens MN products are available at Just Foods Co-op in Northfield, Bluff Country Co-op in Winona, Spiral Natural Foods Co-op in Hastings and all Hy-Vee locations in Rochester. Restaurants currently serving the microgreens include Lord Essex Steakhouse in Rochester and Blue Heron Coffeehouse in Winona.
The Bredlaus want to “share the flavors and fun of microgreens, especially in grocery stores to customers who are not typical co-op or farmers market shoppers, to enhance their home eating experiences.” Jayne says, “Tasting is believing.”
I met Jayne at the Achieve 2019 event in January. After sampling My Sweet Greens MN microgreens at the event, I quickly became interested in the product.
Over the winter I demonstrated the microgreens at Hy-Vee stores in Rochester. It was fun to hear feedback from shoppers. Some people walk right by, while others take their time to sample the Sweet Pea, Sunflower, Classy Classic combination, Zesty Mix and Radish shoots. Most people can taste the sweet pea flavor immediately in the Sweet Pea shoots. The flavors get surprisingly spicier, which intrigues people who take their time to taste each of the varieties of microgreens.
The nutritional value of microgreens is superb. Each microgreen type reflects that of the plant itself with up to 40 times more punch, according to WebMD.
Sunflower microgreens are one of the most complete foods you can add to your diet for overall health. They are packed with vitamins A, B-complex, D, and E. They also contain calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. As source of complete protein, sunflower microgreens help to repair muscle tissue and aid in enzymatic functions in the body. They benefit skeletal, muscular and neurological systems as well as activate the immune system and help keep gut bacteria healthy, improving our ability to fight disease.
Microgreens can be eaten many different ways—as a base for or on top of salads, added to sandwiches, burgers or wraps, as a topping for eggs, soups and meats, or blended with fruits for smoothies or with herbs for a flavorful pesto. At demonstrations, we provide recipes that include My Sweet Greens MN microgreens. The recipes are also found online at mysweetgreensmn.com/recipe.
Jorrie Johnson is publisher and editor of Rochester Women magazine.