BrightFarms chooses Texas for fifth greenhouse site
BrightFarms will break ground on a greenhouse farm in Abilene, Texas, this spring. This will be the company’s fifth facility in the U.S. and first in Texas.
The 195,000 square-foot greenhouse farm will provide locally grown salad greens and herbs that are pesticide-free, non-GMO and Texas-grown to supermarkets in the region starting in early 2019. Additionally, the company said, the greenhouse will use an estimated 80 percent less water, 90 percent less land and 95 percent less shipping fuel than West Coast salad farming operations
Citing the Food Marketing Institute’s 2017 Power of Produce, BrightFarms said consumer demand for local produce remains strong.
“Data shows that when quality, appearance and price are equivalent, 60 percent of consumers chose local over organic,” the company said. “BrightFarms’ impact on the category in retailers across the U.S. confirms this trend (Catalina Data). Across all existing customers, BrightFarms sales have been largely incremental, delivering 3 percent new category buyers and 22 percent category growth.”
Paul Lightfoot, BrightFarms CEO, said meeting the demand for local produce is a challenge for grocery retailers.
“We are solving this problem by building commercial scale year-round local farms and delivering the freshest and most flavorful baby greens and herbs to our customers within 24 hours of harvest,” he said. “Texas and the city of Abilene have welcomed us with open arms, and we couldn’t be more excited to serve this region.”
The greenhouse will produce a variety of packaged salad greens, including spring mix, spinach, baby kale, romaine, arugula and others. The Abilene facility will create as many as 30 permanent “green-collar” jobs for local residents, each paying a living wage and offering health benefits, BrightFarms said, and that recruiting will begin in the next coming months.