Meet Jenny and Greg Van Grouw of Hope Cress Farm, our Featured Vendor of the Week at the Blairstown Farmers’ Market!
The Van Grouws are lifelong farmers and currently grow over 30 varieties of microgreens, as well as peppers and tomatoes at their greenhouse operation in Hope, NJ. This is their story…
“Growing produce to feed people has been a lifelong passion for me. As far back as I can remember as a kid I would plant a vegetable garden in my parents back yard. My wife and I have been involved in agriculture for most of our lives. I worked on our family dairy farm throughout my high school years before moving on to work on other dairy farms after school. Jenny grew up on a dairy farm and has also been involved in agriculture working in a greenhouse and florist for many years. We settled in Hope NJ about 30 years ago when we moved to the farm that we currently live on.
After working for a large greenhouse for about 10 years and hearing the growers talk about this new budding market for microgreens we began to do some research to learn what a microgreen even was. About 1 ½ years ago I had an opportunity to work from home allowing me the flexibility to be able to change our farming practices from a very expensive hobby into a business that might actually return a profit. We invested in a 2800 square foot greenhouse and began growing microgreens. We tested different growing methods and after some trial and much error we settled on growing them in soil believing that any produce will have the best flavor when grown naturally. We use no sprays or chemicals on our microgreens depending on the energy in the seed to sustain it through its life cycle. As a rule microgreens have about three times the nutritional value as the mature plant.
Having some extra space in our greenhouse and already paying for the heat we decided to plant some tomatoes and peppers to fill the space. This has been a fun project for us watching them grow. They are now about 8 feet tall and we need to stand on ladders to continue to train them up the trellises. These tomatoes are planted right in the ground and taste as good as if they were fresh picked from the garden. We look forward to having you enjoy the benefits of our fresh produce as much as we have been doing for years.”
– Greg Van Grouw, Hope Cress Farms in Hope, NJ