( Courtesy Great Lakes Growers )

Hydroponic herb and leafy greens grower Great Lakes Growers is delivering directly to customers in Ohio, with plans to expand the program later this year.

The Burton, Ohio, company tested the Great Lakes Growers Express program in the summer of 2018 with salad home deliveries, according to a news release. Owner and CEO John Bonner said the service was successful with no adverse effects to the products.

Since then, the company developed a website and streamlined the process for incoming orders.

“Without question, I have lofty goals for the service and I’m confident it will grow quickly, but our company was built on the ideal of consistently delivering quality at a price that is affordable to our customer,” Bonner said in the release. “We will grow the service as fast as demand dictates while maintaining our ideals.”

The new service doesn’t signal a major shift in Great Lakes Growers’ business model, according to the news release. Although the company supplies grocery stores, some consumers don’t live nearby them or don’t have the time to shop.

“Furthermore, produce like lettuce and herbs are not represented well in the meal kit home delivery market because of how they are procured and how long they spend in transit before they ever reach the consumer,” Bonner said in the release. “We grow everything hydroponically right here in our own greenhouse and ship our produce to our customers the same day their order is harvested.”

Great Lakes Growers grows and markets “living lettuce” products with the roots still attached to the plants, giving them extra shelf life, according to the release.

Orders are collected throughout the week, with a Sunday deadine, and orders are picked and shipped by UPS on Tuesdays for a Wednesday arrival, according to the Great Lakes Growers Express website, https://www.greatlakesgrowersexpress.com/.

The company is doubling the size of its operation to 160,000 square feet, with a projected completion this summer.

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