Heidi MacDonald, 51, was “a little busy” last Friday morning as she prepared for her first time at the Centralia Farmers Market.
For MacDonald, the experience of selling produce at a market was still new.
“Yesterday was my first ever farmers market in Toledo,” she noted.
But MacDonald is about to get a lot more experience.
She said she’s now signed up for the Toledo, Centralia, Yelm, Tumwater and Astoria farmers markets. She chose the markets that were already in the delivery area for her business, which is rather extensive, with stops ranging from Spanaway and Joint Base Lewis-McChord all the way south to Astoria.
MacDonald owns a microgreens business called Lady MacDonald’s Gourmet Foods. She describes it as “a local urban farm just outside of Centralia.”
MacDonald said “microgreens are young vegetable greens that are harvested just before true leaves appear. These little nutritious powerhouses are versatile and can be easily incorporated into every meal.”
She described microgreens as “small but mighty super foods — high in vitamins and phytochemicals such as vitamin C, E, K, lutein and beta counterparts.”
MacDonald, who is originally from Astoria and moved to Centralia in late 2019, said her delivery business has “grown significantly” in the past few months since she started. Her first delivery was on Nov. 30, 2021, shortly after she got back from visiting her husband in Germany. MacDonald said she delivered to two people that day. But now she delivers to dozens of people across three routes, with 15 to 30 customers per route.
She said many of her early orders were from people she knew.
“I got a lot of love from my Astoria people (when I first got started),” MacDonald said, “I had lots of support from friends and family.”
Now, MacDonald delivers to a wide variety of places.
“I deliver to restaurants, people’s homes and offices, everywhere high quality, delicious, nutritious food is served,” she said.
People she knows helped in more ways than just buying her products.
“My father-in-law helped build the building (I grow produce in.) … My son has helped a little with harvesting as well,” she said.
MacDonald says she harvests her produce on Mondays and makes deliveries every Tuesday and every other Wednesday.
“They grow about 10 days on average before harvesting, but some grow up to 17 days,” she said. “I grow to order and deliver quickly after hand-harvesting. They are much fresher than produce traditionally available in grocery stores. … I only use organic seed and organic soil.”
She says she grows her produce on racks in the 17-by-26-foot building. She grows 15 different types of plants, ranging from her favorites such as sunflower, mustard and nasturtium to others like broccoli, sweet peas, radish, amaranth and cabbage.
MacDonald said she originally got the idea to start her microgreens business from personal experience.
“About a year and a half ago, in 2020, I got really sick. … I wanted to figure out how to eat healthy and started growing these in my window sill and they improved my health so much I went into business,” she said.
She said she can vouch for the food she sells.
“The food I grow and sell is the same my family and I eat on a daily basis,” she said. “I love microgreens for what they have done for me and am proud to be able to provide this wholesome, nutritious food to my community.”
What does MacDonald have in store for the future of her rapidly growing business?
For one, she has several more varieties of plants in the “testing phase.”
And she’s planning on adding one of her favorites: mushrooms.
“I had planned to grow mushrooms in the summer,” she said, “but now summer is already almost here, so I will be (growing mushrooms) in the fall.”
Learn more online at https://www.ladymacdonaldsgourmetfoods.com.
Lady MacDonald’s Gourmet Foods
Address: 366 Halliday Road, Centralia
Telephone: : 503-791-1915