Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Opticare Vision/Express Mobile Transport

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

In Other Words: Local Entertainer Enters Urban Farming Market With Fort Thomas Microgreens

Does this story bring some value to you? Please consider a small donation to help fund our content. We rely solely on support from our advertising partners, providing our content for free. Any amount helps. Click here to donate!

“Eat local. Live better”
is the tag line for Fort Thomas Microgreens. And it’s the latest entry into the locally sourced food market.

Johnny Delegrange is the owner. You probably know that Delagrange is a busy talented local musician/entertainer, but he can now add urban farmer to his resume. His business has officially only been around for about a month, but like his product, it is growing. In fact, my wife stumbled upon Fort Thomas Microgreens the other day on social media and asked me about it so when I saw Johnny’s name as owner, well, I had to call him to get the story. 

Now open in the Fort! 33 N. Fort Thomas Ave.

We sat down to chat bathed in the soft glow of grow lights hanging over shelves full of trays growing a variety of microgreens. Each tray is dense with the growth of a particular crop. He points out the peas, sunflowers, broccoli, and radish plants that he is currently cultivating. 

Delagrange says, “I started gardening in the back yard ten or twelve years ago just for fun. We’d throw seeds in there to see what happened.” He became curious about growing crops indoors. “A few years ago I started hydroponics. I started reading about that. I thought that was really cool. I had a whole vertical setup. I was growing more lettuces, parsley, bok choy than I could eat. I really enjoyed the microgreens so I started growing them for fun.” He grew a few trial crops (about a ten week cycle) to figure it out as he established the rhythm of growing. 

There is the possibility of adding more. “I’d love to do wheat grass, maybe another kind of radish,” he adds.  

I wondered if he noticed a difference in his health since incorporating microgreens. He pulled out his phone and read a text that he received from a customer. He says, “I just had a lady last week who took her first order.” She sent a text, “This is great. It really does increase my energy. I don’t slog around with coffee all morning. It’s refreshing.”  

Just to be clear, and I needed some guidance about this, a microgreen is the plant stage right after the sprout stage when the plant’s nutrition is at its richest. Research indicates that there can be up to 40 times more nutritional content in microgreens than in their full grown counterparts. Not only do the plants add color to dishes but it also packs quite a nutritional punch in a small package. And they taste good. 

Delagrange says, “I encourage people to incorporate them into whatever you’re eating already. You could throw them in an omelette or in a smoothie.  I even sauté them in peas and throw an egg in there. Throw them on a sandwich. Toss them in a salad. One of my favorite breakfasts is avocado toast sprinkled with greens with eggs and Parmesan cheese.” 

Community is important to Delagrange. He understands the benefits of dealing within the community. He says, “Community is big to me.… If community can … do business with each other, connect with each other, interact with each other, act independently, the better we will be.” 

Barb Thomas, owner of Grassroots and Vine, is also a firm believer in community. The restaurant is a client of Fort Thomas Microgreens. She says, “You’re getting twice as much nutrients in a smaller amount.”  She added that, “We started putting them on our charcuterie boards and it’s perfect” because it complements the flavors of the board. 

Walt’s Hitching Post uses Fort Thomas Microgreens as well. Some smaller grocery stores, like the Clifton Market and Loschiavo’s in Park Hills, have expressed an interest. Prices are reasonably priced between $5.00 to $10.00. 

Delagrange says that they were tossing around ideas for the company tagline when his son’s girlfriend suggested the phrase. It resonated with him so there it is. He says, “I totally stole that from my son’s girlfriend and you can give her credit.” He laughs. 

”Eat local. Live better.” That’s a pretty good way to build a better community.

1 comment:

  1. Great article. Makes me want to head to the Farmer's Market in Wednesday!