When 12-year-old Andrew Sorrows and his 11-year-old brother Isaac started their microgreens business—Sorrows Family Barn—in February 2022, they had so much work ahead of them. First, they researched how to grow product. Then they needed a greenhouse, so they created a business plan. They learned about input costs, fixed costs, and how to use Microsoft Excel. They applied for and received youth loans from the USDA for $5,000 each. They had to sign so many documents, it was like getting a mortgage. All that work has paid off as they have a budding business and loyal customers.
Edge: Why did you decide to start the business?
Andrew: We have a restaurant named A Catered Affair just down the road from us. They were buying microgreens shipped from California. By the time the microgreens got to them, they did not last for long in the fridge since a lot of time was spent on the truck. We decided to be a local source so they have a longer time to work with the ingredients.
Isaac: I also thought it was cool to have a business at a young age.
Edge: What do you sell and is it year-round?
Andrew: We sell microgreens year-round. We grow and sell vegetables like tomatoes that are purple, yellow, or striped. We also grow and sell cut flowers. Since we hope to sell these year-round, we built a greenhouse.
Edge: Who do you sell to?
Isaac: Right now, we sell to A Catered Affair, Au Courant, and V. Mertz. We talk to the chefs about their recipes and what they need.
Edge: What is the process to grow the microgreens?
Andrew: We prep the trays on Sunday by filling them with soil made from ground up coconut shells—it’s environmentally friendly. We plant the trays on Mondays.
Isaac: I weigh the seeds on a scale and use a recycled parmesan cheese container to sprinkle them onto the trays.
Andrew: Microgreens don’t need sunlight to grow. We put weights on the trays because it helps crack open the seeds. After seven days we harvest and package them. I drew the logo we use on the stickers we put on the packages.
Edge: How do you transport the microgreens and veggies?
Andrew: We put them in the trunk of our car. A Catered Affair has a really big freezer, so they ask for the actual trays that we use. When we travel downtown, we put the plastic containers into a cooler. They stay cool for hours.
Edge: What’s the biggest challenge with running your own business?
Isaac: Planting enough microgreens to have enough product and making sure that I put the right amount of seeds on the trays.
Andrew: Working with my brother and arguing over things. We have two different personalities and that makes us fight once in a while. I’m outdoorsy and I like to fish and hunt, and Isaac plays with his friends on his PC indoors.
Edge: What are your future plans for the company?
Isaac: Try to grow and sell more variety of products year-round with our greenhouse.
Andrew: Also selling sweet corn and green beans to have more products to choose from.
Edge: Of everything you grow, which are your favorite to eat? Are there any you don’t like?
Andrew: My favorite microgreens are sunflowers, popcorn microgreen shoots, and peas. My least favorite is nasturtium because it tastes like wasabi and is really hot.
Isaac: My favorites to eat are radish, peas, sunflowers, and sometimes I like to dip the sunflower shoots in chocolate (so healthy!). My least favorite are basil and sorrel.
Edge: Why should other fifth and sixth graders start their own businesses?
Andrew: For later in life. You get money for college, and you learn more about your passion. It also helps you learn communication skills.
More stories like this one can be found at Our Youth.