A farmer story: Sprouting for your health
A farmer’s path to growing high quality sprouts for the local market
Christine Lindsey is an enthusiastic farmer who specializes in growing sprout and microgreens at a co-owned farm located in Bokeelia, Florida. She is well-known in the area as “The Sprout Queen;” if you are in the region she is the ‘go to’ person when it comes to high quality sprouts and microgreens. Chris was one of the speakers at the Regional Small Farms Conference in Fort Myers. She, along with two other speakers, presented on the session called “Food as Medicine.”
It all started when Chris was looking into finding alternative health solutions for her beloved cat. She learned about the benefits of sprouts by attending a Lecture at the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach. She decided to give it a try at home. From her Cape Coral residence, her sprout operation got going in 2009 after providing Michael Wallace of Pine Island Botanicals, Inc. with extras for a farmers market he sold at. “The sunflower greens were a hit, and so I increased my production and began to include various sprouts and wheatgrass and more and more customers came” said Chris.
In 2012 she moved to Michael’s residential farm in Bokeelia which is located on the barrier island Pine Island in Southwest Florida. Besides sprout and microgreens, the farm grows a variety of fruits, in ground and hydroponic lettuces, herbs, and vegetables along with chickens. With the recent acquisition of a new parcel, their farm is now 5 acres.
Chris is passionate about improving the health of her customers. She does not have a problem sharing her “secrets” at growing microgreens and sprouts at home. “I have nothing to hide by teaching people exactly how I do it. They can either take one of her classes and/or come to the farm to see how it’s done”. Some follow through and grow their own, but the majority prefer save time by purchasing from Chris. She also sells growing supplies such as seeds and trays.
Chris has summarized the health benefits of 15 sprouts and microgreens varieties through various handouts. Besides other publications, one of her main sources is the book ‘How Can I Grow and Use Sprouts as Living Food’ by Australian author Isabell Shipard. The farm sells directly to consumers 99% of the time through various farmers markets in the area. Even though she generally does not sell to health food stores, she finds that they often refer customers to their farm. Many of Chris’ customers who purchase sprouts and microgreens do so with the objective of strengthening their immune systems.
The income received from microgreens and sprouts represents a little more than 40% of the farm’s total revenue. Her year round focus on microgreens and sprouts provides the farm with steady income especially when other crops on the farm don’t do well. Even though Chris grows in a “Mother Nature climate controlled” environment, they can be easily protected from major weather events. The quick growing cycle is another business advantage since most sprouts and microgreens grow between 1 and 2 weeks. Surrounding temperatures can shorten or increase growing time. For example, on 80 degree days and 60 degree nights, Chris can grow radish sprouts in 5 days, and wheatgrass or sunflower in 10 to 11 days.
For more information about Chris’ operation, visit her website here: http://www.thesproutqueen.com/
The Regional Small Farms Conference was held in April 1st and 2nd in Fort Myers.
Upcoming Regional Small Farms Conferences:
- October 11, 2016 in Jackson County
- November 4 & 5, 2016 in St. Lucie County
For more information about the upcoming regional conferences, contact Jose Perez at email@example.com or 352- 294-1692