Loudon, N.H.-based Lef Farms hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on a visit earlier this month.

Perdue spent about two hours on a full tour of the farm, which is hydroponic and fully automated, said sales and marketing manager Donald Grandmaison. In the region for another visit, Perdue planned the stop at Lef Farms on the recommendation of New Hampshire agriculture commissioner Lorraine Merrill.

“Secretary Purdue was very thorough,” Grandmaison said. “He was just really interested by the automation and the way we’re doing it.

“One thing that he did say was that we (as a country) need to figure out a way to feed more people, and he thought that this operation was a great way, a creative way to produce food locally for a large number of people,” Grandmaison said.

Lef Farms has about 50,000 square feet of greenhouse production now and is preparing to expand to another three or four acres of production.

“There’s most definitely demand,” Grandmaison said. “People are looking for locally sourced product.

“(In) this particularly category, mixed greens, and greens in general, I think people are always looking for something that’s going to last a little bit longer, taste a little bit better,” Grandmaison said.