US (MA): Wellspring Harvest plans to grow vegetables, wealth

Wellspring Harvest Corp. hosted tours Wednesday of its soon-to-be completed 15,000-square-foot, $1.3-million greenhouse on part of the old Chapman Valve site on Pinevale Street in the city's Indian Orchard neighborhood.

The greenhouse will grow lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, baby kale, cilantro, mint and and array of vegetables from around the world year-round in nutrient-rich water. Customers include Baystate Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Big Y Foods, Sodexo on behalf of the Springfield Public Schools and Squash Trucking.

Fred Rose, co-director of Wellspring, said the greenhouse will start with five employees and grow to nine.

"Really entry level jobs in the city where people learn on the job," Rose said. "They are going to be learning the skills as they work."

The Wellspring Harvest Greenhouse sits on a 2-acres parcel that was once part of Chapman Valve.

At one time, Chapman Valve was one of the country's largest manufacturers of valves and fire hydrants. It had nearly 3,500 employees in the 1940s.

Chapman supplied valves to the Manhattan Project, which built the first atomic bomb, and later machined uranium rods into slugs for reactor fuel at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Chapman Valve closed in 1986, with fewer than 100 employees.

Read more at (Jim Kinney)

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