One man’s mission to put ‘micro greens' on the Harrogate menu

Urban farmer Steve Drew with some home-grown cress. Picture: Adrian Murray
Urban farmer Steve Drew with some home-grown cress. Picture: Adrian Murray
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Restaurant goers in Harrogate could start to see the first ‘micro’ greens in the north of England making their way onto the menu.

Steve Drew, of High Street, Starbeck, is putting his day job on the back burner to pursue his other interest - growing miniature vegetables and greens.

Hydroponics is the use of just light and water to grow plants and vegetables, but Steve explains the idea first took off in the capital, with a company called Growing Underground.

The London-based company took over a couple of abandoned air raid shelters and started growing micro greens to supply the local market.

Steve Drew said: “Now they sell to Covent Garden Market, Ocado and Farm Drop.

“I guess I thought that’s interesting, you could do that locally. My contract finished at work and I thought why not have a go to do something similar for Yorkshire.

“It’s a little bit of a shot in the dark. I’m a Project Manager so I work for myself already.

“I’m a southerner originally but my kids were born here so they’re Yorkshire through and through and I have been here 16 years now so Harrogate is my home really.”

Steve’s new business venture, The Yorkshire Salad Company is already in the business planning stages and in talks with a number of head chefs at Harrogate’s top restaurants.

He said: “At the moment I’m just going out speaking to chefs, I’ve had a huge amount of interest so there is certainly a market out there.”

But while Steve has found a market for his business, he has not yet found a space to grow.

He said: “It has to be somewhere a bit different that adds to the quirkiness. I’m a bit of a historian by trade, I love the idea of taking something on that is a bit forgotten and has a bit of history behind it.

“I’ve been on Facebook groups, I’ve tried to speak to landlords, I’ve gone on property finder sites, I’ve biked around Starbeck and Bilton and even considered shipping containers but they’re too small.

“I’m looking at somewhere roughly five metres by ten, so it’s not a massive space, but I can grow a hell of a lot in that space.”

Explaining what micro greens actually are, Steve said: “They are smaller versions of their bigger selves, you tend to grow a huge amount in a small space. They are much more nutritious, because they have the same taste and colour and all the rest packed into a smaller specimen.”

Steve has appealed to anyone in the Harrogate District that can help him house his growing venture. If you think you’re up to the challenge get in touch by emailing hollie.bone@jpress.co.uk

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