A massive indoor lettuce farm in Belton is about to get much larger. TrueHarvest Farms, a 54,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse, is planning a 3.5-acre indoor addition that will more than quadruple annual production.
“We’re going to break ground on the new greenhouse in July,” said Marshall McDaniel, one of the owners of the farm. “We will be able to grow about 8 million heads of lettuce every year.”
The expansion will allow TrueHarvest to expand its product line and reach new customers through service contracts and supermarkets.
Currently, the farm supplies the Temple and Belton school districts with lettuce and sells produce at Sprouts, Brookshire Brothers and United grocery stores. McDaniel said the company needs the expansion to meet growing demand.
“We’ve been talking with H-E-B and school districts in the Austin area and throughout Central Texas,” he said. “Increasing production will let us expand our customer base.” McDaniel said a prospective customer after expansion will be SodexoUSA, a food services company that provides meals for many nursing homes and colleges, including the University of Mary Hardin Baylor.
“We’re growing FinStar from seeds we obtained in Finland,” Maks said. “It’s a member of the iceberg family but has better nutritional value. We also grow a Monte Carlo Romaine that has big, dark green leaves perfect for salads or wraps.”
Today’s operation evolved from a hay and pecan operation that started on the 1,000-acre Chet Dixon farm west of Belton in 1979. The farm recently expanded its pecan orchard and also grows corn and wheat. But, the focus of McDaniel and Maks is lettuce.
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