BrightFarms, a supplier of locally grown salads for supermarkets, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for its new 250,000 sq. foot greenhouse in Snyder County, Pa. on Monday, May 20.
Dozens gathered at the construction site before attending a celebration at Susquehanna University, including Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, Senior Vice President of Merchandising John Ruane, Vice President of Fresh Dave Lessard and Director of Floral and Produce Chris Keetch from Giant Food Stores, and President and CEO of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce Bob Garrett.
“This is not just a big deal for Pennsylvania, it’s a big deal for jobs and for the community, but I would add that it’s also a big deal for the consumer. At the end of the day, we’re in the food business and making sure that they are happy and that we have access to their tables is critical,” Redding shared during the celebration.
BrightFarms also used the opportunity to thank Giant for their longstanding partnership and commitment to doing business with local farmers and food processors. Amid rising consumer demand for locally grown produce, the grower will serve as a key partner for the supermarket chain, which operates nearly 180 stores across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
“BrightFarms has long been one of our valued supplier partners and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate the groundbreaking of their new greenhouse in Snyder County. Each week, thousands of our customers purchase BrightFarms’ fresh greens and this new facility will help them continue to do so, ensuring we deliver on our promise to deliver the very best local produce available. We are proud to do business with BrightFarms and look forward to doing so for years to come.”
The Food Marketing Institute’s 2019 Power of Produce report suggests that local produce matters to 84 percent of consumers, and 44 percent of them specifically seek it out and buy it whenever possible. That same report also found that produce is the number one driver for consumers when it comes to selecting their grocery store of choice.
"We have developed a year-round local salad program with Giant and their efforts to source from local farms is remarkable. They are truly taking a consumer-centric approach to meeting the needs of their produce shoppers," said Abby Prior, Vice President of Marketing at BrightFarms.
The greenhouse, which is scheduled to open in early 2020, will deliver fresh, local produce to Pennsylvania supermarkets within 24 hours of harvest.