LET’S JUST SAY Danielle Drummond went from micro to macro. The entrepreneur took what was once just a hobby of growing seedlings in her parents’ Lake Forest basement to commercially cultivating and distributing greens in a 4,000 square-foot hydroponic grow space in Lake Bluff.
“In quarantine, everyone picked up a new hobby and mine was growing veggies and herbs,” explains Drummond, founder of Miss Microgreens, a grower and supplier of organically grown, non- GMO microgreens,
At a time when others in quarantine were baking banana bread baking or putting together a 1,000-piece puzzle, she immersed herself in the art of microgreens—the seedling versions of larger herbs and vegetables. With grocery stores empty of stock, it was nerve-wracking to think if there was anything even available, it wouldn’t be safe to consume, especially produce.
Enter Drummond’s new hobby.
“I had read about how nutrient-dense microgreens are, but also that they grow quite quickly,” she says, explaining that at the early stage of seedling’s growth, these vegetable greens are harvested just after the cotyledon leaves develop.
“Microgreens can be up to 40 times more nutritious than their larger versions by weight,” she says. “Eating just one of our potted micro broccolis can provide the vitamin equivalent of almost four pounds of broccoli.”
Her next steps? Buying some seeds, getting a grow light, and stealing a storage rack from her parents’ garage.
“Originally, I was just really curious about the seeds I could get my hands on,” Drummond says. “Quarantine slowed everything down so it was exciting to have little successes seeing these seedlings grow because I had never really grown anything before.”
In an effort to connect with others during isolation, she started dropping off flats of her microgreens to the doorsteps of friends to share and bring hope in uncertain times. Soon friends would be asking Drummond to deliver her greens to their friends. Once she started an Instagram account, inquiries started coming in.
“Since then, it’s turned into a mission to grow the widest variety of specialty greens I can and introduce greens that used to be just for chefs to everyday household cooks and families,” she says.
The organic-based business has continued to grow, well, organically.
“In 2021, I did two farmers markets and that was a great introduction into that way of selling; and in 2022 we did five markets including Lake Bluff, Libertyville, Evanston, Winnetka, and Skokie,” she says.
Through these farmers markets, Drummond recognized her customers’ shopping patterns and appreciated the instant, positive feedback she would get, giving her a strong and loyal clientele. At farmers markets, Drummond sells her greens as a living flat of four varieties of microgreens.
“This little countertop garden becomes an experiential routine in my customers’ homes,” she says. “They choose their varieties themselves and then members of the family cut them in all of their meals.”
She’s found it’s a real bonding experience for couples or parents with their kids to choose which varieties they want that week. “It makes them really happy.”
Aside from Drummond’s farmers market varieties, Miss Microgreens grows an even wider variety, some that taste like limoncello, grapefruit, or flower petals that are spicy like jalapeños.
“These are things chefs might know about, but I want them to become part of a regular shopper’s grocery list,” she says.
With Drummond’s greens, experience elevated meals using micro leeks on eggs or a turkey sandwich garnished with radiantly purple, peppery radish microgreens.
“It’s an upgrade you can’t go back from. People have no idea about the possibilities of quality, fresh produce that was not grown on an industrial farm. Have you ever noticed how much better the basil from your garden tastes than from a store?” she adds. “There’s a joy that comes from that kind of quality that people experience. Looking at their food and being proud of what it looks and tastes like and knowing exactly where it came from.”
Locals may have had Miss Microgreens’ seedlings at Le Colonial, The Gallery, or Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Inovasi in Lake Bluff, Froggy’s French Café in Highwood, Chrissoulas in Libertyville, Pomeroy in Winnetka, and more.
“I’m constantly expanding our varieties and menu of what we grow,” Drummond says. “Next, I want to offer customers lettuce, herbs, exotic greens, and edible flowers and make my business a chef ’s paradise with greens never seen in a grocery store.”
During this winter and holiday season, Miss Microgreens offers delivery all across Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, and most of the North Shore suburbs and can be purchased online as one-time orders or as a bundle of deliveries.
For more information, visit missmicrogreens.com.