Courtesy BrightFarms Inc.An artist’s rendering of how the Washington, D.C., greenhouse will appear.New York-based BrightFarms Inc. has entered into its 11th partnership with a grocery retailer, with Landover, Md.-based Giant Food LLC to supply year-round produce to its Washington, D.C., stores.
Under the arrangement, BrightFarms plans to grow produce, including tomatoes, herbs and mixed leafy greens, hydroponically in a 105,000-square-foot greenhouse, said Toby Tiktinsky, BrightFarms director of business development.
It expects to break ground for the greenhouse in the southern part of the district near the Maryland border, in May, and construction should be completed by October, he said.
The greenhouse will be designed, built and operated by BrightFarms in partnership with the city’s Department of General Services, which helped it find the property to lease, Tiktinsky said.
The greenhouse grower also will work with the Anacostia Economic Development Corp. to ensure a portion of its production reaches local community organizations, he said.
Tiktinsky said he expected the first crops, which take about 3.5-4.5 weeks to grow, to come off in late October or early November.
The facility will employ about 15 workers. As it has in the past, BrightFarms will bring in an experienced head grower to oversee operations and train employees in tasks, such as picking, packing and tending plants, he said.
The agreement with Giant Food fits into the greenhouse developer’s business model and ensures lenders that it has a long-term revenue source, Tiktinsky said.