Great Lakes Growers, an 80,000 square foot, hydroponic greenhouse facility that grows leafy greens and herbs in Burton, Ohio, has announced announce that it has broken ground on an additional 80,000 square foot expansion. Once completed, the expansion will effectively double its growing capacity to 160,000 square feet and bring annual pesticide and herbicide free production capacity to six million heads. The masterplan for this site will max out at 380,000 square feet and will be realized in Great Lakes Growers subsequent Phase III and Phase IV expansion plans.
This expansion will also include a retrofit of the existing facility with the latest in LED lighting, glazing, dehumidification, heating technologies and environmental control software. Great Lakes Growers will take its semi-automated growing and crop handling design to the next level while further carving out operational inefficiencies through investment in automation and space management. The company is also investing heavily in its harvesting operations which will now include pre-harvest cooling and automated handling in order to extend its shelf life
“I have always thought of our initial facility as a bit of test lab; a place to learn and “figure it out," so to speak," John Bonner, owner and CEO of Great Lakes Grower, said. "Through hands on, real-world experience, we now have a playbook of techniques, varieties and technologies that work well together, but also know what doesn’t work for us and that knowledge is just as valuable. "We have been very pleased with our market share up to this point, but the time has come to bring our diverse product line of living and fresh cut lettuce and herbs to new customers in new markets.
Part of this construction also includes a 20,000 square foot cooler and packaging line which will enable Great Lakes Growers to harvest and pack products that are already pre-cooled. Great Lakes is also investing significant capital in technology for water sanitation to eliminate the possibility of foodborne illness, which represents a huge risk in the marketplace.
Construction began on Sept. 15, 2018 with an anticipated completion date in May 2019. The staged retrofit of the existing facility will be complete by August 2019.
To learn more about Great Lakes Growers, visit GreatLakesGrowers.com.