Shenandoah Growers, Inc., Rockingham, Va., opened USDA-certified indoor BioFarm facilities in Rockingham and Elkwood, Va., which will grow, pack and ship locally grown, premium-quality, organic produce year-round.
The new BioFarms deliver 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.
The Rockingham BioFarm will supply 100% of Shenandoah's basil in the Mid-Atlantic region, marking the transition away from traditional field production, while 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," says Tim Heydon, chief executive officer.
"It's one thing to be able to grow indoors, it's quite another to harvest, pack and deliver with consistent quality 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year while meeting demand during peak seasons," adds Steven Wright, chief customer officer.
"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," says Phillip Karp, president.
The company is in the process of accelerating its indoor farming capacity to deploy additional next-generation, USDA-certified organic Biofarms across its entire national platform of operating locations.