It was only two years ago that Chris Del Greco started Under Sun Acres and started growing peppers in his first 10 hectare greenhouse in Leamington, Ontario. Now they're expanding again. Bom Greenhouses and Universal Fabricating signed the contract for phase two of the project during the PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim, California, where Bom Greenhouses was present.
In 2017 Chris invested in three large CHP units to supply the new Under Sun Acres project with heat and electricity from cogeneration. They opted for a closed loop water supply, to maximize the use of rain water, and installed a filtration system that includes UV sterilization. The greenhouse is equipped with diffuse glass to provide even light distribution across the crop while energy curtains and polycarbonate walls minimize heat loss during the winter months.
The facility is also equipped with an extensive packing line. "When you produce upwards of 25,000 kilograms of sweet bell peppers per day, you need a well-orchestrated grading and sorting operation. Automated dumping, sorting and stacking systems are utilized to move product as efficiently as possible while maintaining the highest of quality standards", they explain on their website. This means they now have two automated machines and various customized packaging solutions, all food safety certified to Primus GFS standards. In addition, the product is transported into the sorting room by self-riding vehicles.
Phase one of Under Sun Acres consisted of 10 hectares high tech Venlo greenhouses, however the land and heating infrastructure had been prepared for a total of 20 hectares. And that's what's currently being realized.
Foundation works for phase two have already been started. Later this month another three large CHP units will be delivered to supply the project with heat and electricity from cogeneration.
"Cogen is the cutting edge of energy generation and consumption for commercial and industrial applications. The engines will work in unison with our existing hot water boilers and buffer storage tank to provide efficient and reliable heat to the greenhouse throughout the year", they explained earlier.
Just like for the first phase, greenhouse supplier Bom Group will work together with the Canadian company Universal Fabricating to realize the expansion. With this current expansion the total greenhouse surface will surpass 20 hectares (approximately 50 acres).