ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — Eight boxes of living basil made it to a handful of Anchorage grocery stores in the first week of December, marking the first deliveries of the first large-scale, commercial hydroponic grow operation in Alaska.
Alaska Natural Organics founder and majority owner Jason Smith said eight boxes of basil — accounting for just under 100 plants — were delivered to some Anchorage-area grocery stores including Carrs/Safeway and New Sagaya. Smith noted it's just the beginning of what he hopes will bring fresher, year-round greens across Anchorage and the rest of Alaska.
Smith set up in the old Matanuska Maid building in midtown Anchorage earlier this year and originally hoped to begin selling his greens in May. However, production delays kept them from meeting that target.
Smith said much of the delay stemmed from the operation being certified organic.
"There were a lot of surprises thrown at us each day," he said.
But in the warehouse on Dec. 4, Smith and his four employees were moving ahead with the full operation.
That number of plants is far from the 20,000 Smith hopes produce monthly when the facility is running at full capacity.
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