How does a Virginia herb company grow? By moving nature indoors

Tim Heydon is no Warren Buffett. But he had his one golden insight when he and his business school team from James Madison University tackled a project called Shenandoah Growers in the 1990s.

Heydon saw a $1 million Virginia farm growing herbs — as demand for fresh organic produce was exploding. He saw a location that was a 10-minute drive from Interstate 81, allowing access to markets up and down the East Coast.

Heydon and his team didn’t miss the one-acre greenhouse on the property, either. They grasped a chance to control the growing cycle. That would enable them to increase crop yields and profits by bringing everything indoors.

Two decades on, Shenandoah Growers of Harrisonburg, Va., has blossomed into a business with an expected $120 million in revenue this year. It serves 23,000 stores across the country, including 16 of the 20 largest food retailers.

Heydon and his 1,200 employees have captured 35 percent of the retail fresh organic herb market. And they want more.

Read more at Middleland Capital (Thomas Heath)

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