Indoor agriculture company Shenandoah Growers has begun harvesting produce at two facilities in Virginia, US.
The firm now plans to grow, pack and ship organic produce from the sites in Rockingham and Elkwood to its customers in the Mid-Atlantic region 365 days a year.
Shenandoah said the new BioFarms will solve persistent problems in the fresh product supply chain and deliver “peak freshness, longer shelf life, enhanced food safety, reduced food miles and year-round organic supply”.
The Rockingham BioFarm will supply 100% of Shenandoah’s basil in the Mid-Atlantic region, marking the transition away from traditional field production. The firm said basil is the most difficult herb to grow and ship nationally due to its vulnerability to weather volatility, disease and temperature damage.
Meanwhile, the Elkwood BioFarm will supply the company’s new line of local organic lettuces.
“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, Shenandoah CEO.
Company president Phillip Karp added: “Fundamentally we are about the democratisation 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.”
Shenandoah Growers is in the process of accelerating its indoor farming capacity with a plan to deploy additional Biofarms across the US.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019