Pure Island Produce is a commercial hydroponic greenhouse located in Ellitvale, 30 km east of Charlotte town. The company produces lettuce and herbs throughout the year thanks to a complete automated system that allows saving up to 90% water compared to traditional lettuce farming.
David Mitchell, co-owner of the company, pointed out that "We use up to 90 percent less water than traditional farming for lettuce. That's because the fresh well water is recycled. The water that we do lose is just through nutrient uptake into the plants."
Additionally, the company ships its products with roots intact and in water. "We can actually keep the plants uptaking water and nutrients while they sit in the refrigerator at the restaurant", said David Mitchell. This is a crucial element as it allows consumers to reduce waste.
Although the greenhouse is equipped with an automated system to monitor e.g. temperature and CO2, the company manages to keep the prices affordable. "Our cost per plant production is probably much higher, just because we have to use so much automation and lights to produce our plants," Mitchell said, "We ship all our products locally so our cost of distribution is much lower, so our price per plant should be comparable to plants that come from the United States."
The greenhouse opened three years ago, also as a response to the high demand from restaurants, "The amount of fresh produce that's required for the restaurant industry here is pretty staggering," he said. "So I don't think we'd be able to meet the demand of every restaurant in Charlottetown at this particular scale." Right now, his focus is on satisfying his current customers. "They know what they're going to get and it's going to be a top-shelf, quality product all year round."
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Pure Island Produce