Devens, Massachusetts-based Little Leaf Farms' mission is to provide fresh, locally grown lettuce grown sustainably all year round to their New England consumers. To be able to achieve this goal, it is extremely important to grow and supply products in a sustainable way all year round.
This is why Little Leaf Farms asked VB again to build the most modern and innovative greenhouse to date to grow leafy greens. A system that provides the smallest possible chance of disease, an optimal growing climate, and no need for human hands to be involved in the cultivation process. After three consecutive phases for LLF realizing an ultramodern greenhouse is a challenge that VB knows how to handle.
Inside the Little Leaf greenhouse
The climate on the US East Coast is a challenge: winters during which -25 C is no exception, and summers during which the mercury rises to +38 C. A considerable amount of energy is required to be able to cope with these extremes. The solution had to be more sustainable than transporting the lettuce by truck from the West Coast to the New England area.
With an advanced automatic cultivation system that systematically moves through the greenhouse, the sustainability challenge has been overcome. In collaboration with a team of specialists, as well as the customer, VB was able to take an in-depth look during the design process at what was needed to create an optimal growing climate inside the greenhouse.
The Little Leaf Farms greenhouse in Devens
Active cooling system
VB has integrated a unique active cooling system, with which the inside of the greenhouse can not only be kept cool during the winter through the use of outside air, but also stays cool during the hot summers. LED lighting helps compensate for the shortage of natural light during the winter. With the use of sun protection screens, excess sunlight is blocked during the summer.
The result? The climate conditions can be optimized for the cultivation process, the growth process is accelerated, there is more control over the nutrition the plants receive, available cultivation space is used in the most efficient manner, and virtually nobody needs to enter the greenhouse.
Edward Verbakel (VB) & Paul Sellew (Little Leaf Farms)
Doubling and doubling again
The first greenhouse in Devens MA was completed in 2016 and shortly after two additional phases were built by VB for Little Leaf Farms to reach 10 acres of modern growing space.
In the course of 2021 LLF and VB were able to agree again on the construction of the new Little Leaf Farms greenhouse facility in McAdoo Pennsylvania. With this expansion Little Leaf is doubling its capacity to 20 acres. Construction will start this summer and completion is expected for early Spring 2022.
McAdoo facility, Pennsylvania