There's a new woman-owned urban farm in Dallas specializing in the tiny crop of microgreens. Called Talise Microgreens Farm, it's a startup growing more than 20 varieties of greens, hydroponically, which they deliver to restaurants around Dallas-Fort Worth.
Talise was founded by Pooja Kumar and Monica Gautam, two women entrepreneurs based in Plano, who launched the business in July 2021.
The company is supplying microgreens to Dallas-Fort Worth hospitality groups such as Lombardi Concepts and Ascension Coffee House. They grow microgreens in varieties such as broccoli, radish, mizuna, basil, and kale.
Both have professional jobs but they wanted to use their skills to provide something positive and nutritious to the Dallas community.
"Microgreens are a powerhouse of nutrients, packed with nutritional value," Gautam says. "I use them for my kids in salads, wraps, tacos."
They're grown in a warehouse — "we call it a farm," she says.
"We've been building our market," she says. "We started approaching smaller restaurants and sushi places, like Ebesu, Vegan Food House, and Teppo. We'll experiment and grow different microgreens that fit their cuisine."
Microgreens' delicacy makes them extremely perishable with a short lifespan of up to 14 days — a challenge for mainstream supermarkets who need a longer shelf life. But they're often sold at farmers markets such as Braga Farms and Timeya's Microgreens at the Dallas Farmers Market.
Like pretty much everyone else, DFW's microgreens industry suffered at the hands of COVID-19. Southlake grower Hoss Farms relocated to Alabama and is teaching people how to grow their own foods; Denton's Greenfin Farms, while still selling microgreens, is focused these days more on building aquaponics and hydroponics farms for other companies.
They're a niche product — but with a devout following, due to their extremely high nutritional value, loaded with vitamins C, E, & K, plus lutein and beta-carotene. They also provide an intense bang of flavor, making them a popular item at fine-dining restaurants, a few strands strewn across dishes for a little pop.
"We did a lot of research into power foods, and people are becoming more conscious of what they eat," Gautam says.