Irey Market Garden was founded in 2020 by Dan and Tawnie Irey and their family.
Creating our local indoor farm in Ogden, Utah, was a dream come true. During the Covid-19 lockdown, we had a lot of time to reflect on what was important to us—helping our family be healthy, learning to grow our food, and working hard motivated us to take our first steps towards our dream. We have four rambunctious boys and couldn't wait to involve them in farm life.
During the Summer of 2021, we had both the indoor farm and a rented plot of land for a no-till market garden. We enjoyed growing field produce sustainably and intensively.
After the season was over, we shifted our focus to indoor farming. First, we worked to refine the process of growing microgreens. After sending many microgreens to the chickens, we started looking for ways to make our perishable microgreens last longer. After some research, we found a company specializing in helping others freeze-dry their food.
Thus, the great partnership with Family Freeze Dry was born. We began freeze-drying our extra microgreens, not sure what we would do with them but knowing we didn't want any more waste on our farm. After a few months, some ideas started coming, we started experimenting. Fast forward a few months, and MicroProducts were born. MicroProducts include freeze-dried smoothie mixes, boosts, herbal teas, and more—each product focusing on providing the nourishing power of microgreens.
Our mission is to improve the health and sustainability of our local community with a focus on improving gut health and the microbiome. We want to find ways to improve health by making it easier to incorporate microgreens in people's diets!
Why Focus on Microgreens?
Microgreens are superfoods! Why are microgreens healthier than regular greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale? Their nutrient content is more concentrated, vitamin and antioxidants levels are 4 to 40X higher than more mature greens and richer in minerals. Microgreens are a simple yet powerful way to add vegetables to your diet at their highest nutrient-dense state. Microgreens are young plants harvested from 10 to 14 days after planting.
At this stage of development, the greens taste delicious, provide surprisingly intense flavors, vivid colors, and crisp textures. Microgreens proven by research have countless potential health benefits such as boosting the immune system, reducing chronic disease risk, helping with weight loss, lowering inflammation, and improving gut health.
Why is Gut Health Important to Our Family?
In 2016 Tawnie was suffering with some health issues such as inflammation in the joints, fatigue, and long-term infertility. After the blessing of adopting our two oldest sons we started searching for answers to Tawnie's health challenges. We were directed to a functional medicine doctor, Dr. Chris Frogley, who focused on gut health, the microbiome, nutrition, and informational medicine (NeuroModulation Technique NMT-Home) to heal the whole body comprehensively. After realizing gut health was a significant issue, Tawnie started making substantial changes in her diet and lifestyle. After cutting out all refined sugar, gluten, dairy, corn, and other food sensitivities and incorporating greens and many other whole foods, things started to change for the better. Tawnie noticed after three months of healing the gut that joint health and energy levels had dramatically improved. In addition, Tawnie saw some bonus benefits, such as heightened focus and clarity of thought. At the end of 2017, we found out that Tawnie was pregnant with twins!
We had our twin boys in August 2018 after 14 years of infertility; these events convinced us of the powerful impact of a healthy gut and microbiome on individuals' and families' health and life experiences.
We want to help those in our local community enjoy the same health benefits and be their best selves!
Gut Health and the Microbiome
Microorganisms in and on the body make up the human microbiome. The microbiome, a vast ecosystem of beneficial microbes, protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins. We depend on a vast army of microbes to stay alive. The human body contains trillions of microorganisms, outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1. The microbiome is essential for human development, immunity, and nutrition. The microbes living in and on us are not invaders but beneficial colonizers. Microgreens feed the beneficial microorganisms in the microbiome; these nutrients promote diverse microbe colonies that directly impact health. Healthy gut characteristics include lower levels of pathogens and toxins, increased microbial diversity, and lower inflammation.
Conversely, a poor diet can lead to a leaky gut, which weakens the tight junctions in the gut lining, which causes openings in the gut lining that allow food particles and toxins into the bloodstream. When your immune system sees organisms where they don't belong, it attacks, causing irritation and inflammation. But, on the other hand, when the microbial balance in your gut is correct, your whole body functions the way it's supposed to—source: The Leaky Gut: Mechanisms, Measurement and Clinical Implications in Humans (nih.gov).
Benefits of Freeze-drying
Freeze-drying is a process that preserves food and prevents spoiling while still maintaining flavor, color, texture, and, most importantly, nutritional value. In addition, the freeze-drying process only removes water, keeping all microgreen nutrient content and fiber intact while extending the shelf life from a few weeks to a few years.
Currently, our products are short-term use, so our packaging will keep food fresh for up to two years; however, we may offer long-term food storage options in the future in mylar bags that will keep freeze-dried food fresh for up to 30 years.
Our Passion and Future
We want to help people! We want to help others with their wellness journey, provide sustainable products, create more food equality, and bring awareness and education to our community and rising generation. We hope to have a more comprehensive vertical farm to expand our offering to more vegetable varieties one day. We want to bring nutrient-dense food to those who are less fortunate, those with little time, and children. One day we want to open a drive-thru where people can get healthy food on the go. Being parents to four boys, we know how hard it can be, and we want to make that just a little easier for parents. There is so much good we can see in our future, and we hope as these passions come to life, and our community will feel a positive impact.