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Gotham Greens to Double Capacity, Expand to Texas, Georgia

Specialty Food Association

Indoor farming specialist Gotham Greens said Tuesday it plans to double the size of its greenhouse capacity this year to more than 1.2 million square feet, including its first two greenhouses in the South.

The company, which supplies salad greens, herbs, salad dressings, dips, and cooking sauces to about 3,000 stores in 45 states, is planning one new location outside Dallas, in Seagoville, Texas, and another near Atlanta, in Monroe, Georgia. It also has a new location planned for Windsor, Colorado, near Denver, and is planning to expand its existing locations in Chicago and in Providence, Rhode Island.

In an interview with SFA News Daily, Viraj Puri, co-founder and CEO of Gotham Greens, said the company’s decentralized structure and local supply networks have helped it thrive during the past two years.

“Our unique business model enabled us to remain flexible throughout the course of the pandemic,” he said.

Sales were up 28 percent in the past year, the company said in a release.

Its retail customers include Whole Foods Market, Kroger Co., Albertsons Cos., Sprouts Farmers Market, and others. It also supplies restaurants and foodservice accounts.

Gotham Greens plans to remain focused on its core products made with ingredients grown in its own greenhouses, and on expanding its line of leafy greens, Puri said.

“We continue to explore exciting fresh food products that celebrate plant-based ingredients as the main hero ingredient,” he said, citing the introduction last summer of two new vegan dressings—Vegan Ranch, and Vegan Caesar.

As the company has grown, it has continued to refine the technologies it uses to drive sustainable hydroponic greenhouse operations. Its growing systems and 100 percent renewable electricity-powered greenhouses enable it to grow lettuce using 95 percent less water and 97 percent less land compared to conventional field agriculture, the company said.

“Our newest facilities have the most advanced technology yet, with enhanced automation, climate control, and data science capabilities,” Puri said. “Gotham Greens has continued to push the boundaries of greenhouse facility design incorporating industry-leading advancements in hardware and software, all designed to maximize efficiency and reduce natural resource requirements. For example, our unique irrigation techniques use less than one gallon of water to grow a head of lettuce, compared with up to 10 gallons used in conventional open-field farming.”

In announcing the newest locations, Gotham Greens said it is intentionally expanding its operations into areas that are being impacted by climate change. In California, where Gotham Greens opened a greenhouse last year, more than 37 million people are affected by drought, with 87 percent of the state classified as experiencing “severe” or “extreme” drought, the company said.

In addition to bringing its water efficiencies to such markets, the company said the proximity of its greenhouses to key metropolitan areas also eliminates the need for long-distance refrigerated transportation, while improving product quality and shelf life, and ultimately reducing food waste.

Gotham Greens’ goal is to offer fresh produce within a day’s drive from its greenhouses to 90 percent of consumers across the U.S.

“These strategic greenhouse expansion projects bring us closer to this milestone,” said Puri in a press release.

Upon completion of this year’s expansion efforts, Gotham Greens will own and operate 12 greenhouses in eight states, building upon its existing greenhouse network in New York, Rhode Island, Maryland, Illinois, Colorado, and California.

The company, which is a Certified B Corporation, started out in 2011 with a single urban rooftop location in Brooklyn, New York.

Related: Natural Grocers Debuts Hydroponic LettuceBrightFarms Acquired by Cox Enterprises.