New project aims to grow lettuce locallyLettuce purchased at a grocery store or restaurant in Jamestown has probably traveled about 3,000 miles, according to Lance Brower, consultant to Endless Harvest, a controlled environment agricultural business planned for Jamestown. If the Endless Harvest project is completed, it would produce lettuce here, rather than having it shipped here from the West Coast.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
By Keith Norman
The Jamestown Sun
Lettuce purchased at a grocery store or restaurant in Jamestown has probably traveled about 3,000 miles, according to Lance Brower, consultant to Endless Harvest, a controlled environment agricultural business planned for Jamestown. If the Endless Harvest project is completed, it would produce lettuce here, rather than having it shipped here from the West Coast.
A status presentation for the project is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 27, in the lower level meeting room of the Center for Economic Development building in Jamestown. Brower said potential investors or anyone with an interest in greenhouse agriculture is invited to attend.
The presentation will include information on Webcams being installed to allow potential investors to see the lettuce in the test greenhouses as well as discuss the economic and environmental benefits of growing lettuce here.
The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. authorized a feasibility study in January to determine if a lettuce greenhouse would be profitable and the best equipment and practices for operating it. The study is being conducted at Hydrosun Hydroponics greenhouses in Minnesota.
The plan Hydrosun developed includes a 2.7-acre greenhouse with support facilities, living quarters and educational facilities as Phase One. Phase One of the project has a $10 million price tag. Steve Froehlich, owner of Hydrosun Hydroponics, said about 60 percent of the financing has been arranged for the first phase.
Phase One would produce about 4.5 million heads of leaf lettuce per year. This amounts to about 7 percent of the annual lettuce consumption in North Dakota and Minnesota. The ultimate goal would be a 21.6-acre greenhouse producing 36 million heads per year.
“The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. is very supportive and looking forward to monitoring the test plantings by the Internet,” said Connie Ova, CEO of the JSDC. “We hope they are on a pace to be building by next summer.”
Froehlich said financing is the group’s primary goal.
“Funding is number one for us now,” Froehlich said. “We’re ready to go with Phase One of the project. We’re considering locations for the project (in Jamestown).”
The planned facility would be one of the most advanced in the country, he said. That is why he wants to include an educational aspect to the greenhouse operation.
“This is going to be a cutting-edge facility,” he said. “We’re looking at it as an educational facility to serve as a catalyst to jump start this type of facility all around the U.S. Now there is no good spot in the U.S. to learn this kind of stuff.”
Ova said investors have been impressed with the project.
“To the investor this looks good,” she said. “I’m sure some people want to see it and taste it before they make a commitment.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email