It’s no secret: our region is synonymous with agriculture and farming. That being said, if you were thinking “I’ve seen it all!”, one of Vankleek Hill’s new local businesses is here to tell you: “Not yet.”
Located at the tail end of Vankleek Hill’s industrial park, Kyan Culture offers a fresh, newly-grown take at sustainable and self-sufficient food production through microgreens; young vegetable shoots picked for consumption approximately 10 to 20 days after they were sowed.
“I chose microgreens instead of sprouts to steer clear of potential threats like e-coli and salmonella,” said Kyan Culture owner Sam Doucet.
“Microgreens are grown in soil, in a well-lit area. They also last five to fourteen days (or more) once harvested.”
Kyan Culture produces all its microgreens indoors in a custom, innovative, clean and fully controlled environment designed by Doucet himself.
“I’ve always been fascinated by innovation in agriculture, with focus on the innovation part. When presented with the idea of growing things indoors, I was hooked. It promotes both innovation and healthy living. I love it even more than I thought I would!”
When he first walked into the empty space that would become the Kyan Culture grow-op, Doucet knew little of plumbing, electricity and construction. Being a born entrepreneur, this array of challenges did not faze him.
“I learned so much. People that visit us are always impressed. ‘Wow! You built all this from nothing?’ For me, when I look at the set-up, it’s all about ‘How can I make it better?’.”
Kyan Culture is owned by Doucet and his partner, Aude Martel.
“She has a full-time job in Ottawa, but she joins me on Fridays to help out. She does the market in Vankleek Hill and on Sundays we’re at the Lansdowne Market in Ottawa. We’re 50-50 in this,” said Doucet.
Business is growing
An interesting fact? The name Kyan Culture is inspired by the kyanite mineral, known for its tints of blue and green and its positive-energy-attraction properties.
“There’s a lot of interest in what we do,” said a clearly-satisfied Doucet.
Incorporated in March 2017, Kyan Culture started selling to clients in January 2018.
Currently, seven varieties of fresh microgreens are ripe for the crunching: wheatgrass, broccoli, sunflower, arugula, radish, peas and a special summer mix that includes mustard. These choices were the results of an extensive market research done when the operation was a start-up.
After only a few months being in business, Kyan Culture has already amassed a great list of clients, from grocery stores to restaurants, even caterers. People interested in their products can find them in many places throughout the area, including Le Marché d’ici and L’Ami de la santé in Hawkesbury, Vert Fourchette restaurant and the Vankleek Hill Farmers’ Market and Bonichoix in Embrun.
The curious would do well to visit Kyan Culture directly at the Farmers’ Market, where the duo will share information on their business and products. They also have some fresh salads (and dressing) for a healthy, on-the-fly snack!
For now, Doucet prepares for the future by concentrating on both his operation and finding new clients for his products.
“Eventually, I’d love to open a new operation elsewhere, like Toronto, through a partnership – not a franchise, since I want to have full control over quality.”
Kyan Culture is definitely off to a great start!
With an ever-growing list of clients, an innovative operation and the care and energy of its owners, this unique twist on agriculture and healthy living is one to watch out for.
Anyone interested in learning more should visit their website, kyanculture.ca, or stop by the Vankleek Hill farmer’s market on Saturdays for a chat.