By: James Pruitt
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Nature Fresh Farms continues to grow as the Canadian operation adds on another greenhouse at its site in Delta Township.
The farm produced its first crop of OhioRed tomatoes earlier this year and more is forecast in 2016. The site will one day boast several large greenhouses and warehouse facilities and employ hundreds of people.
Each greenhouse covers 15.3 acres, so by the end of 2016, that will give the facility 45 acres of production.
NatureFresh’s Delta facility will be producing greenhouse vegetables year-round starting next winter.
With the site under intense construction, company officials are not allowing media access to the site, but media representative Chris Veillon did provide some updates about what is happening.
The first crops were ready for harvesting in February and more are being picked every week, Veillon said.
“As the crop starts to ripen, we have gone from a few hundred cases of OhioRed Tomatoes in the first week to thousands of cases as we head deeper in to the season,” Veillon said.
Phase 2 is under construction and expected to be completed later this summer. The first plants from this phase should be ready by late November and early December.
The crops so far have been well received by consumers.
“The response has been fantastic to date. People love the quality and the flavor,” Veillon said.
While the company projects hundreds of jobs created when all phases are complete, the farm has added about 30 jobs so far, Veillon said.
Later this year as phases 2 and 3 are completed, the company plans to add Beefsteak and specialty tomatoes to its product lines. The construction schedule is being met, he said.
With an increase in hours of sunlight over the coming weeks, crop projections will rise which will mean more Ohio tomatoes making their way to the market.
“We continue to receive email & social media messages daily from consumers that are all over the mid-west asking about our new OhioRed™ brand tomatoes and when they will be available,” Veillon said in a press release.
Given the location of the facility in Ohio and unique nature of greenhouse vegetable growing, the company has been getting a great deal of interest from local schools wanting tours of the greenhouse.
“We look forward to educating students from all over the Midwest about greenhouse growing, just like we do with our mobile Greenhouse Education Center,” Veillon said. The company’s #GreenInTheCity Tour kicked off March 31 with the mobile greenhouse scheduled to attend more than 80 events in 2016.
James Pruitt may be reached at