Peak Microgreens

Sprouted from the Bottom

Chace MacDermott and Dave Curulewski are two guys in their early 30s paving, or should I say seeding, a way for themselves and their company, Peak Microgreens. MacDermott from Connecticut and Curulewski from just south of Chicago, they both came out west to chase fresh powder and enjoy mountain living. Little did they know, their common fields of study and jobs in hospitality would plant them smack dab in the center of a booming niche industry — microgreens. MacDermott’s background in environmental science and Curulewski’s background in biology made them the perfect pair of friends to dive into this business.

While the pair were grinding away in the hospitality industry along the I-70 corridor, they gained inspiration from a microgreen farm based out of Steamboat and wanted to bring a similar idea to the world-renowned restaurants located in the Vail area. By sheer luck, Curulewski had a spare bedroom in his apartment, and in no time, the two were setting up a vertical microgreen grow operation out of said 120-square-foot bedroom. Over the winter, they dialed in their processes and realized they had a good shot at making something of it. Curulewski was working in the Manor Vail Lodge and would bring in samples of their product to the restaurant, now known as Ridge + River, for the chef to test and critique. This helped them know what their potential clients would be looking for and perpetuated their growth even further.

Developing a business and growing produce is not a simple task, especially when you still have other jobs to take up your time and make ends meet in the beginning.

“We did the hustle of working second jobs for that whole first year. Dave was doing overnight security and working literally around the clock. I would work during the day and then run to my serving job. We were just completely grinding,” recalls MacDermott. “Last June/July, we went full-time, and over the past year we’ve been working just as hard.”

Transferring over from that comfy every-two-week paycheck to being the people controlling the cashflow can be daunting. “You feel that pressure come onto you like, if I mess this up … this can mess with my whole well-being,” states Curulewski.

“Normally, you have five days on and two days off at a typical job, but we’re communicating with chef’s 24/7. We have two delivery days a week, but sometimes chef’s run out, and, obviously, we want to keep business rolling, so we buckle down and do it, but it does sometimes make it hard to ‘clock out,’” MacDermott explains as we discuss the realities of owning your own business.

When asked if they have any grow hands or staff at this point, MacDermott, with a grin on his face, lifted up both his hands and says, “Nope, not yet; just these hands!” Curulewski, laughing, follows, holding his hands up saying, “Four grow hands total!” It’s clear that these two work hard but have a great time doing it together.

peak microgreens owners

Photos courtesy of Peak Microgreens


To paint a picture for you, Peak Microgreens has expanded from the 120-square-foot bedroom to a 2,000-square-foot space with rows and rows of metal racks holding 900 trays of microgreens in various stages of their growth cycle fed with LED lights. The space is fully complete with a harvesting and packaging station, a planting station, an industrial sink and three large refrigerators for ready-to-go inventory.

MacDermott and Curulewski are on two-week grow cycles, which boils down to them constantly planting, cutting and flipping the trays to keep up with their demands. When explaining their various bouts of trial and error, they described how they have dialed in their watering process by watering from the bottom of the plant. The trays of tightly-packed microgreens sit in soil; below that tray is another of water. Being bottom watered virtually eliminates the risk of mold and fungus in this high-moisture environment. These trays require watering every single day; that’s 900 trays a day.

Not only does this two-man team do all the day-to-day work, but they are also moving large amounts of soil constantly. They purchase 2,400 pounds of soil at a time and transport that by hand up and down the stairs of their rental property. Once they’ve harvested the greens, they compost the soil, which is an awesome component of their process, but also means they have to carry the used soil back down the stairs. It’s unanimously agreed that their next space will be on the first floor.

“We’re just a year and a half in business, and we’re basically already maxing out this grow space now,” shares MacDermott. “We’d like to buy land and build out a custom fit building to grow mushrooms, flowers and microgreens. But, it’s tough out here with real estate.”

An unfortunate reality in the state of Colorado, especially closer to the ski resorts. It’s clear that small businesses thrive on the tourism of this state but can be suffocated by the limiting, and in some cases unreachable, real estate market.

Though they face the battle that most of us do with the real estate market at this time, they have felt extremely supported by the community in their business venture. Their first summer in business, while still grinding it out at their other jobs, the pair would divide and conquer to be at the Edwards, Dillon and Minturn farmers markets. It’s there that Curulewski feels most connected to the community.

“At farmers markets, it’s great to talk to the people who are enjoying the market and purchasing from us. The biggest thing for me, though, is getting to know other farmers and vendors there that are also trying to grow a small business,” states Curulewski.


“We would like to get into local grocery stores. There’s not many, but we would really like to move forward with that. We have talked about one day maybe having a little storefront ourselves,” MacDermott chimes in. “We’re just trying to grow sustainable, local produce and food for the community.”

Peak Microgreens feels strongly that vertical growing systems are the push that sustainable agriculture needs, and it’s pretty great to feel that level of innovation helping people within the community strive for their goals. This perfect pair of best friends turned business partners are visibly filled with the excitement that comes of their first year and half in business. If you ask them if this was something they thought they’d be doing, they’ll say absolutely not, but they love that they’re here.

If you want to purchase microgreens straight from the source or get them for your restaurant, you can find more information at