Startup: Sustainable greenhouses hope to provide year-round produce, 275 jobs
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
A Portland startup says its sustainable greenhouses will "revolutionize" fruit and vegetable production by allowing more locally made items to be distributed year-round.
Fresh Air Farms said its large-scale greenhouse will produce goods that are vine-ripened, free of chemicals and available regardless of the weather. The hydroponic greenhouses offer quality fruits and vegetables minus such issues as chemical residue, water shortages, unpredictable weather, farmland depletion and problems stemming from long transports.
The company expects to add 275 jobs, including engineers and scientists, to the Portland area over the next 10 years.
Gerry Snell, Fresh Air Farms founder and president, said that at full capacity, his company's greenhouses will produce 56,000 pounds of produce daily, which will be delivered to local grocery outlets within 24 hours of the harvest.
"Compare that with the seven to ten days of transit time we currently experience with imported produce," said Snell who noted that half of the area's produce in the summer is imported. That ratio jumps to nearly 100 percent during the winter months.
Snell expects the company to eventually generate $40 million in annual sales. The company's produce could hit local groceries early next year.
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