A freshly established hydroponic farming operation is bringing the promise of new industry and employment to the small community of Opasatika.
This spring, Truly Northern Farms (formerly Smart Greens-Sudbury) will establish the first crops of lettuce and basil inside a 23,000-square-foot growing facility that was previously used for cultivating mushrooms.
Located about a 30-minute drive west of Kapuskasing, the Town of Opasatika has a population of about 200 people, but no major industry to sustain it.
The mushroom facility had sat vacant and unused for three years before Stéphane Lanteigne was approached by the owner about the building’s potential.
“We went up there, and the amount of infrastructure that’s in that building is unreal,” said Lanteigne, who now owns and operates the facility with his partner, Jeremy Gallanders. “So for us, we’re able to launch at a significantly lower price than if we were building up from new.”
Initially, Lanteigne estimates they’ll be harvesting about 10,000 to 20,000 heads of lettuce every week, along with 10,000 basil plants. And that’s just using the one-third of the facility that’s ready to go.