Redefining Locally Grown

Redefining Locally Grown

Want to talk about the concept “as fresh as possible”? Well, we know that buying produce from a farmer’s market not long after harvest pretty much fits the bill, but what about produce at the grocery store? Sometimes fruits and vegetables come from local farms, but often the produce is shipped in from various locations, sometimes from across the country.

At McCaffrey’s Markets, which are located in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, however, offering produce that is literally as fresh as possible may be just around the corner. Plus, the produce will be available year-round.

Just how will they do this? Well, the grocery chain is in the process of having a greenhouse constructed on-site.

Mark Eckhouse, vice president of McCaffrey’s, says a greenhouse will be constructed on the roof of one of the three McCaffrey’s stores. The produce grown at the facility will supply the grocery chain and possibly other local retailers.

According to Eckhouse, the rooftop construction will be 40,000 square feet, and the plan is to have the facility operational later this year. McCaffrey’s, however, will not own or operate the greenhouse. The grocery chain is working with BrightFarms, an operation based in New York, who will design and then manage the facility. McCaffrey’s will purchase the fresh produce from BrightFarms.

The Largest Rooftop Greenhouse
The concept of rooftop greenhouses isn’t new. To date, there are a number of rooftop facilities located throughout the U.S., but most of them are on college campuses, explains Benjamin Linsley, vice president, business development and public affairs at BrightFarms.

“We completed a state-of-the-art greenhouse on Manhattan School for Children in New York in December 2010, and Gotham Green’s (also in New York) commercial rooftop farm opened in May of last year, which we were involved with in its early development stages,” says Linsley. “The McCaffrey’s greenhouse will be the first on a supermarket, and will also be the largest in the U.S.”

The key benefit of putting a greenhouse on the roof or next to a store is that the supermarket customer gets the freshest produce possible because it was grown locally and delivered within hours, not days, explains Linsley. “[The produce] was grown for taste and not for shelf life,” he continues. “By not trucking food thousands of miles, we also save millions of tons of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere.”

By selling produce from a rooftop greenhouse, McCaffrey’s will be able to offer consumers produce within a 12-hour period after harvest, adds Eckhouse. “The end result is it is going to be a better product coming from a controlled environment. It is not organic, but the nutrients given to the greenhouse produce will be controlled to exactly what the plants need.”

Fresh Lettuce, Tomatoes, And Herbs
What will be produced in the greenhouse? Lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs, answers Eckhouse. Those crops were chosen mainly because they are the ones most often requested by consumers. “Plus, they can be grown rapidly in a greenhouse and tomatoes can be grown vertically, so they take up less space. Eventually, the plan is to add squash to the lineup,” he adds.

McCaffrey’s Markets have a good reputation in the communities they serve and already have a very loyal customer base, adds Linsley. “The important role the locally grown movement can play in this, as with any community, is to continue to highlight the benefits from choosing to buy locally grown food items, in particular the superior quality and the reduced environmental impact,” he says.

From what Linsley says, this is just the beginning of rooftop greenhouses being aligned with grocery stores. The company is currently working closely with 10 additional supermarkets and he says they hope to have at least three more deals signed in the next few months.

For more information, go to http://brightfarms.com/projects/mccaffrey-s-markets.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

NutsCalifornia County Passes Ordinance To Protect Walnut Gr…
August 27, 2014
Verification of ownership needed to complete sales of valuable nuts. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Hit By Russian Import Limits
August 27, 2014
Growers reflect on changes to export market in light of produce ban. Read More
Farm ManagementLeadership And Management Expert To Speak At California…
August 27, 2014
Daniel Goleman will make presentation at California State University-Fresno. Read More
CitrusNational Scientific Summit On Herbicide Resistant Weeds…
August 27, 2014
Topics to be covered include the economics of proactively managing herbicide resistance, education and outreach efforts, and incentives and regulatory initiatives. Read More
FruitsFlorida Organic Group Dedicated To Serving Growers, Com…
August 27, 2014
Education and development programs are plentiful for interested producers. Read More
VegetablesExperimental Herbicide Technology Blasts Weeds In Rows
August 27, 2014
The technology uses an air compressor to spray corncob grit on both sides of a crop, killing young weeds. Read More
Disease ControlFungal Disease Outbreak Hits Pacific Northwest Vegetabl…
August 27, 2014
An outbreak of blackleg, light leaf spot, and white leaf spot can be significant problems in several vegetable crops.   Read More
CitrusClean Water Conundrum: Ditch The Rule Or Ditch The Myth…
August 26, 2014
Regulation inundation causing a rising tide of confusion for farmers. Read More
BerriesMichigan State University Extension Offers Tips To Prev…
August 26, 2014
Humidity, rainy periods conducive to disease development. Read More
FruitsSpotted Wing Drosophila Populations Rising In Michigan
August 26, 2014
Extension researchers advise berry growers on trapping, salt testing to take stock of pest population. Read More
Apples & PearsNorthwest Pear Crop Estimate Revised Upward
August 26, 2014
Washington and Oregon pear growers forecast a larger size crop than that originally estimated. Read More
VegetablesAgrium Acquires A Controlling Interest In Biotech Compa…
August 26, 2014
The company also acquires stake in Agricen Sciences as part of strategic effort to expand their offering of integrated, next-generation plant health technologies. Read More
Insect ControlCover All Angles When Taking On Threecornered Alfalfa H…
August 25, 2014
Learn how to ID, the survival and spread, and management methods for this insect pest. Read More
GrapesEarthquake Shakes Up Napa Wine Industry
August 25, 2014
Sunday’s early morning quake was centered just six miles from the city of Napa. Read More
OrangesNew Orange Pipeline Full Of Juice
August 25, 2014
Industry stakeholders are working on a rapid release model for processed varieties. Read More
CitrusCalifornia Citrus Cleared For Chinese Export
August 25, 2014
New agreement addresses concerns over brown rot. Read More
CitrusConsolidated Citrus Eyes Giant Planned Agricultural, Em…
August 25, 2014
South Florida real estate endeavor includes a 5 million-square-foot industrial park, including 200,000 square feet of retail space and 500 hotel rooms. Read More
Pest ControlManaging Lepidoptera In Tomatoes
August 22, 2014
This video provides information on how to best identify and control Lepidoptera in tomatoes. Read More