Organic produce supplier Shenandoah Growers moves operations indoors
Shenandoah Growers — an USDA-certified organic agriculture operation — has begun harvests at its next generation BioFarm facilities in Rockingham and Elkwood, Virginia. The company will now grow, pack and ship locally grown, premium quality organic produce from its sustainable indoor farms to its customers in the Mid-Atlantic region 365 days a year.
The new BioFarms will solve persistent problems in the fresh product supply chain — delivering peak freshness, longer shelf life, enhanced food safety, reduced food miles, and year-round organic supply. Shenandoah’s sustainable growing technology uses bioactive soil and fresh water, just like in nature, producing healthy organic plants and delivering on the company’s mission to reduce its carbon footprint and lead in environmental stewardship.
The Rockingham BioFarm will supply 100% of Shenandoah’s basil in the Mid-Atlantic region, marking the transition away from traditional field production. Basil is not only the best-selling herb, but it is also the most difficult to grow and ship nationally due to its vulnerability to weather volatility, disease and temperature damage. The Elkwood BioFarm will supply the company’s new line of local organic lettuces to Mid-Atlantic customers.
“Being able to grow the totality of our basil demand inside our pack house and not fly or truck hundreds or thousands of miles from the field was inconceivable when I entered the business over 20 years ago,” said Tim Heydon, CEO.
The company points out that its indoor production units, many of which have been in operation for over four years, are proven efficient. According to company President, Phillip Karp, “Fundamentally we are about the democratization of sustainably grown organic produce, and for the promise of indoor agriculture to truly unlock its great potential, it must achieve cost parity with traditional farming. Anything we launch from our indoor farms will be scalable and profitable for us and our customers and affordable for the shopper.”
The company is in the process of accelerating its indoor farming capacity with a clearly defined plan to deploy additional next generation USDA certified organic Biofarms across its entire national platform of operating locations.