Greenhouse Will Be Built To Supply Store with Fresh Produce

BrightFarms, based in New York, will finance, build and operate the greenhouse at the Homeland store.

In exchange, the grocer has signed a long-term purchase agreement to buy products grown inside the greenhouse.

Kate Siskel, a BrightFarms spokeswoman, said revolutionary greenhouse is planned for July and it is expected to be operational later this year. The company focuses on growing: lettuces, tomatoes and herbs because those products are the most perishable and suffer the most from being transported.

Produce in the greenhouse will be grown for taste, not shelf life. It will be picked when ripe or ready and arrive on store shelves within 24 hours.

The greenhouse will cover at least an acre and be capable of producing up to 150,000 pounds of produce per year, including spring mix, arugula, spinach, cherry and hothouse tomatoes -- enough to supply that store and up to eight others.

"We're excited to partner with BrightFarms and offer our consumers a year-round supply of fresh local produce. This partnership supports our commitment to sell the absolute freshest produce and our commitment to the community," said Darryl Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of Homeland Stores, an Oklahoma City based grocery store chain with 75 stores in Oklahoma and Kansas.

It's the second long-term produce agreement BrightFarms has made with a grocery chain. The first was with McCaffrey's, an east coast grocer with three locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. BrightFarms also operates a smaller, noncommercial greenhouse in New York.

Siskel said traditionally, the long-term agreements are for at least 10 years. She declined to discuss the specific terms of the deal with Homeland.

Source: The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City