Bella Verdi, Dripping Springs, Texas, opened the doors to its new 20,000-square-foot greenhouse facility in Austin, Texas. The new facility will increase production of the company’s living and specialty lettuces as well as other leafy greens.

“This [expansion] will more than double our current production capacity, and help us to meet the increased demand for our lettuce products,” says Robert Jennings, president and CEO. “We are now able to be more flexible and responsive to our customers’ needs and the growing marketplace, as consumers are looking for choices that include locally grown, healthy and organic products, not to mention less waste, which is met through our living lettuce products.”

Bella Verdi consults with some of the leading hydroponics experts in the world to grow quality micro greens, herbs and living lettuces using sustainable business practices such as natural pest prevention, rainwater use, all non-GMO seed and 100% recycled packaging.

“With this new facility, we were able to employ state-of-the-art environmental controls including variable frequency drive (VFD) technology to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption,” adds Tom Marcoux, director of operations. “We’ll also be more efficient with our water usage by reducing evaporative loss.”

In addition to a focus on sustainability, the products grown in the new facility will be subjected to the company’s rigorous food safety standards, which include GAP and cGMP. Bella Verdi is also in the process of obtaining SQF Level II certification for its growing, harvesting and packing facilities.

“We’re excited to be able to expand our operations and add new jobs while continuing to provide premium quality products for retail and foodservice. Locally grown is good for consumers and good for local communities, as it provides fresher produce with fewer food miles,” adds Jennings.