BrightFarmsopened is largest operation recently, kicking off the first harvest of a 280,000-square-foot facility in Selinsgrove, Pa., with a capacity of two million pounds of fresh produce annually.
Giant stores stock BrightFarms lettucee and other leafy greens.
BrightFarms is donating the first harvest from the facility to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in Harrisburg, according to the release.
HaulProduce.com note: Two million pounds of fresh produce a year may be a drop in the bucket considering the total amount of fresh produce shipped annually. It equals about 50 trucks loads per year from this one operation. Over a million truck loads of fresh fruits and vegetables are shipped a year in the U.S. But greenhouse growing continues to expand in the U.S., as well as Mexico, Canada and elsewhere.
Canadian and U.S. greenhouse operations may have a slight negative affect on long haul trucking since these types of growing operation tend to ship locally, if not regionally. Mexican greenhouse operations on the other hand tend to be a part of load consolidations headed to the U.S. Many greenhouse facilities south of the border are U.S. company owned or financed.
Perhaps the biggest plus is greenhouses are much less susceptible to the whims of Mother Nature, thus providing more consistent, quality products.
Irvington, NY – BrightFarms, the No. 1 brand of locally grown packaged salads, has announced plans for national expansion with new sustainable greenhouse farms in New England (Central MA), New York (Hudson Valley) and North Carolina. The new greenhouses will each be 280,000 square feet and sit on 20 acres of land. Each greenhouse is expected to create around 55 full-time “green-collar” jobs for residents, offering competitive wages and benefits.
The three new greenhouses will further the brand’s presence and add to BrightFarm’s network of local and sustainable farms across the Mid-Atlantic and into the South. The company currently operates greenhouses in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, supplying major retailers in a dozen major metro markets.
In order to more rapidly meet retailer demands for locally grown produce, BrightFarms will also explore acquisitions and partnerships with existing greenhouse growers in each of the new markets.
“We are committed to transforming the produce category to provide the freshest, tastiest and most responsibly grown produce,” said Paul Lightfoot, CEO of BrightFarms. “Consumers are placing high demand for locally grown, fresh salads. With local greenhouses across the Mid-Atlantic and growing, BrightFarms is well positioned to meet these demands for national retailers.”
BrightFarms plans to break ground on the new greenhouses by year’s end, with production starting in the spring of 2020. The greenhouses will each produce more than 2 million pounds of fresh, leafy salad greens and herbs per year while using an estimated 80 percent less water, 90 percent less land and 95 percent less shipping fuel than West Coast farms.
BrightFarms’ national expansion follows the announcement of its successful Series D financing, where the company raised $55 million, and the addition its new CFO, Steve Campione. Campione’s substantial experience in raising capital and making strategic acquisitions will support the company’s aggressive expansion.
About BrightFarms BrightFarms grows local produce, nationwide. BrightFarms finances, builds, and operates local greenhouse farms in partnership with supermarkets, cities, capital sources, and vendors, enabling it to quickly and efficiently eliminate time, distance, and costs from the food supply chain. BrightFarms’ growing methods, a model for the future of scalable, sustainable local farming, uses far less energy, land and water than long distance, centralized and field grown agriculture. Fast Company recognizes BrightFarms as “One of World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” and one of the “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Food” in the world.
Expansion plans have been announced by BrightFarms and Metro Distribution.
BrightFarms has broke ground October 16th on its fourth greenhouse, this one in Wilmington, OH.
The facility will be 120,000 square feet and supply salad greens and herbs to retailers in the Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus metro areas, according to a news release.
Based in New York City, BrightFarms envisions building greenhouses around the U.S. to provide local product.
“There is a large opportunity for the supermarket produce department to grow if they can source locally, CEO Paul Lightfoot said in the release. “BrightFarms sees a clear opportunity in the market to expand our model for local produce across the country.”
BrightFarms continues to report increasing interest in its product, as it did earlier this year when an early finish for leafy greens in Yuma, Ariz., and a late start in Salinas, Calif., resulted in gaps in supply.
“We have seen demand for our local greens climb sharply as retailers have come to rely on the stability and consistency of our product,” Lightfoot said.
According to its website, Bright Farms has been working in urban agriculture since 2006. Since 2011, the company has been on a quest to bring commercial scale urban agriculture to the market, take our farms and the industry to the next level, and change the way we eat as a society.
Metro Inc. announced a projected $400 million investment over six years in its Ontario distribution network. The firm will modernize its operations in Toronto between 2018 and 2023 by building a new fresh distribution facility and a new frozen distribution facility, both of which will leverage technological improvements like automation.
The company’s distribution network in Toronto was built mostly over 50 years ago and no longer meets the evolving needs of the business.
Metro currently operates six distribution centers in Ontario. Four centers are located in Toronto and two in Ottawa. Together, they provide employment to over 1,500 employees. Metro’s
decision to modernize and automate a part of its distribution network will result in an anticipated loss of approximately 180 full-time and 100 part-time positions starting in 2021.