When you think of what a vegetable farm looks like, you probably think of acre after acre of green popping out of the ground. But for Metamora Greens, it doesn’t even take a field—just a shipping container that looks like the trailer to any 18-wheeler.
But outward appearances are deceiving. Inside, it’s like a two-acre field of lettuce, herbs and microgreens in an 8-foot by 40-foot metal box. By partnering with Market Wagon, Metamora Greens is able to bring the entire bountiful harvest (freshly picked!) to your door 52 weeks a year, even in the frigid Michigan winter.
Metamora Greens is the brainchild of Paul Mychalowych and his wife Lisa. Paul is an engineer by trade, though he also sells real estate. Lisa is an accountant but has always had a love of agriculture.
They moved from their suburban Detroit home right before the pandemic hit to 53 acres in the country. As they started seeing the supply chain issues rapidly become a problem, they did something about it—buying the specially-designed shipping container from an outside vendor so they could grow their own vegetables and sell the rest.
It’s a small family-owned business that truly is showing what the future of farming could look like. It’s also a team effort. Using custom automation technology and software, Paul is able to keep an eye on things remotely on his phone. He can make water or temperature adjustments inside the Farm with just a swipe of the thumb. Lisa is much more “hands on,” overseeing the seeding, planting and harvesting of the produce.
Their goal was to sell to a few local grocery stores, farmers markets, and online customers. Paul was even starting to crunch the numbers for what it would take to begin delivering online orders himself. But that’s when he found a Market Wagon brochure at a local farmers market and realized there was no reason to reinvent the wheel.
By partnering with Market Wagon, Paul and Lisa have grown their orders by 25%. Plus it’s a huge time saver compared to a number of other possible revenue streams.
"Market Wagon is a pressure relief, and we are so happy that we found the platform," Paul said.
True to his engineering training, Paul loves that he can tweak things on a weekly, or even a daily basis and see the results. He can put things on sale and start seeing the effects “within minutes.” It’s the perfect avenue to make sure the produce for Metamora Greens keeps moving.
One of the many beauties of indoor agriculture and hydroponic technology is that it only takes Paul and Lisa 30 days to grow leafy greens—a process that takes months in a field. And because it’s in an enclosed container, no pesticides or herbicides are needed. It’s been so successful, Lisa oversees a trio of trailers, each its own 320-square-foot climate-controlled farm.
Because things are constantly picked fresh, often the day before it comes to a customer, lettuce and other herbs lasts much longer than store-bought produce. Plus, they can also sell things 365 days a year—which is a gamechanger for getting Local Food in Michigan.
"The platform has given us the ability to sell all year long," Paul said. "We never would have been able to ship 60-70 items as we do through Market Wagon."
Lisa has also started growing microgreens which are filled with nutrition and are harvested after just 10 days. They contain 40 times more nutrients than when they are fully mature, which is why they’re perfect to throw on top of virtually anything.
"They are great to add to salads, sandwiches, toast, and much more," said Lisa.
Lisa recommends the butter leaf lettuce because of its tender leaves. Because it is picked hours before it is delivered, it can last in the fridge for up to 30 days.
She also recommends the hero mix which includes sunflower, beet, cabbage, kale and broccoli microgreens. Like many of the offerings from Metamora Greens, it’s also sold in a smaller serving too—perfect for a single person for a week.