AppHarvest Opens New 15-Acre Indoor Salad Greens Facility

AppHarvest New Salad Greens Facility

Photo: AppHarvest

Indoor vegetable and fruit operation AppHarvest has opened its new Berea, KY, 15-acre high-tech indoor salad greens farm that contains a touchless rising system with autonomous harvesting. A $30 million mortgage from advertising associate Mastronardi Produce was secured by the AppHarvest Berea farm to fund the mission. Consistent with its technique to safe enticing long-term financing for its belongings, AppHarvest additionally intends to pursue sale-leaseback financing for its Berea farm.

At 15 acres (or practically 654,000 sq. ft), the AppHarvest Berea farm is predicted to be the world’s largest high-tech indoor farm for autonomously harvested salad greens with a cutting-edge touchless rising system. The hands-off system is automated from pre-seeding to packaging together with onsite washing to assist enhance each meals security and effectivity for washed-and-ready-to-eat salad packs. The farm is designed to develop about 35 million lettuce crops at a time, which go from seed to maturity in about three to 4 weeks, relying on selection.

The AppHarvest Berea managed atmosphere agriculture (CEA) facility was proclaimed formally open final week as Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, U.S. Representative Andy Barr, and AppHarvest Founder & CEO Jonathan Webb used handheld harvesters to chop down a strip of crispy and juicy greens grown within the farm’s touchless system. The farm is opening on a phased strategy, starting with 5 acres then bringing on extra productive acreage over time. AppHarvest started first industrial shipments of salad greens earlier this month.

“Our prime prospects more and more request CEA-grown produce for its dependable amount and constant high quality — particularly when it comes to taste, texture, colour, and shelf life — and its extra sustainable rising strategies. This deeper relationship with AppHarvest positions us to develop collectively effectively to satisfy growing demand by increasing our native footprint and delivering on our long-standing ‘recent from the farm’ dedication to prospects,” says Mastronardi Produce CEO Paul Mastronardi.

“Working carefully with Mastronardi, the AppHarvest crew has set new precedents within the CEA sector by quadrupling our variety of farms in such a short while,” says AppHarvest Founder & CEO Jonathan Webb. “With the Berea opening, we now have two farms transport produce to nationwide prospects, and our 30-acre Somerset berry facility additionally is predicted to ship within the subsequent few weeks. We anticipate Morehead to begin its third harvest and to begin planting our 60-acre Richmond tomato farm in November.”

The AppHarvest Berea rising atmosphere leverages sunshine and rainwater and is automated for lighting, humidity, and temperature. The farm makes use of a closed-loop irrigation system, which permits anticipated water financial savings of as much as 90% in comparison with open-field farming and permits for precision dosing of vitamins, leading to far much less use of fertilizer in comparison with open-field farming whereas avoiding air pollution from agricultural runoff. The closed-loop system additionally aids in built-in pest administration to keep away from using harsh chemical pesticides. The adaptive spacing design of the troughs within the touchless rising system additional minimizes any potential pest publicity.

The packaged salad market in North America was estimated to be about $5.9 billion in 2021 and rising. As conventional lettuce-producing areas in California and Arizona expertise ongoing drought and different extreme climate circumstances wreak havoc on crop yields, AppHarvest believes its CEA strategy producing extra predictable yields with much less water and different sources will likely be crucial in offering recent fruit and veggies which might be inexpensive.