They say that from little acorns, big things grow - and Lucas Crossley is hoping the same is true of the micro greens he produces for the restaurant industry.
He set up three months ago, growing 50 different varieties of vegetables and salad in micro form, tapping into the latest foodie trend in upmarket kitchens by combining the tips he learnt from his green-fingered grandpa, who has always grown his own vegetables, with the modern principles of hydroponics.
His first harvest of nutritious, all-natural micro-greens is already gracing plates at the Devonshire Arms, Middle Handley, and the Three Cottages at Hasland. Lucas, of Chesterfield, reckons there are another 200 chefs to target in a 60-mile radius of his Aquagarden farm at Mosborough, where mizuna, red vein sorrel, dwarf kale and many other tiny greens grow in water in a matter of weeks inside architect-designed poly tunnels.
Said former Supercross rider and phone shop saleman Lucas: “I’ve always been green-fingered, thanks to time spent with my grandpa Trevor on his allotment.
“I’d read about micro-greens and knew there would be a market.
“No-one else is growing them here.
“My main rival is in Holland.”
He built his electrically-heated plantation with help from his builder dad and a £9,800 loan from the First Enterprise Business Agency: “FEBA offered the best value loans I could find and they also gave free business advice.
“I had vision and specialist knowledge, but needed help with my business planning,” he explained.
“Now I’m up and running - and I have an extremely proud grandpa.”
Sukveer Chirrimar, loan adviser, said: “Lucas has a fantastic business idea, has done lots of research and loves working with the soil.”