BY MEGAN MANN
FOR THE OBSERVER
Opelika native Chris Barber has had many interests throughout his life.
Whether it be practicing how to skateboard, becoming a pro at flying drones or working with computers, he puts his all into each new hobby or profession he tries.
About a year ago he had that same persistence when it came to learning about microgreens and from there his business Barber’s Microgreens LLC was created. It is a company that provides locally grown microgreens to restaurants, businesses and homes in the Opelika and Auburn areas.
While he still works his job as a drone operator for a surveying company, the 27-year-old first became interested in learning about micro greening about a year ago.
“I ended up working on Youngs plant farm, I was there growing manager for a few years so that was the beginning of my farming experience,” Barber said. “I didn’t do much with it after leaving that job but last January I saw an idea about micro greening, and it made me interested.”
Barber started his business by getting involved with some of Auburn’s restaurants through personal connections.
“One of my good friends is a chef from here that worked under David Bancroft at Acre,” Barber said. “Because of that I had some connections in the restaurant industry and reached out to them. I asked them who was providing their microgreens and if they would be interested in doing it locally”
The entrepreneur received great responses and started figuring out how to turn his idea into a full-blown business.
“The next day after meeting with Acre I ordered a bunch of equipment and did what I do best. I dove headfirst in research like my life depended on it and here I am.” Barber said.
His process is unique and appealing to customers because he uses zero pesticides or chemicals, and the ingredients are freshly grown on an Urban farm in Opelika.
Barber has been the microgreen provider for multiple restaurants in Auburn, but his main customers right now are Acre and Zazu, two high end restaurants in Auburn and Downtown Opelika.
“I meet with the chefs and chat with them to get to know what they like, and I make sure they know all of the details of what I am bringing to the table,” he said. “I usually bring a big box of about 10 to 12 different varieties for free and if they have time, I try it with them to see what they think. I find out their needs and see how they like things done”
He talks about how important it is to build a relationship with the customers.
“One of my biggest goals is to try and keep everything personable and consistent,” Barber said.
Barber’s Microgreens also provides an at home subscription service. His most common items ordered are a large order of microgreens for $25 or a small sampler for $14. The small sampler comes with two different sample flavors and the large comes with four.
“Every week I plant new stuff and mix up the varieties available for these subscriptions. I want my customers to have different items and not get the same things over and over,” Barber said. “It’s something that I think the customers have grown to like, it’s kind of a mystery box. It sparks their creativity with cooking and makes them think outside of the box”
Besides a little help from his wife, Barber does everything on his own. He hopes that with hard work and consistency that this side gig will flourish into his full-time career.
“My overall goal would be to grow this business to the point that it’s what I do for a living. I want it to be established with my name on it,” he said. “I think it would give me a feeling of purpose to have something completely my own.”
You can find out more about the business and how to purchase a subscription by visiting their Facebook page, Barber’s Microgreens LLC or by calling them at (334) 750-4182.