Catalyst portfolio company BrightFarms, the locally grown salad provider, recently announced that it is expanding distribution in the Mid-Atlantic, tapping Ahold banner Food Lion’s more than 330 Virginia-based stores. Following the expansion, the partnered Food Lion locations will be serviced from BrightFarms’ Culpeper, Virginia, greenhouse.
Catalyst-backed BrightFarms’ locally-grown lettuce and basil are currently in 650 stores including Walmart, Kroger, Ahold, and Albertsons locations. In two years, the brand has grown its distribution by 225% reaching a household penetration of 1.5 million.
Catalyst Investors’ portfolio company BrightFarms has expanded its product line. The new item began shipping in January, and all stores that carry BrightFarms product will have Sunny Crunch. BrightFarms supplies hundreds of locations in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois and Wisconsin from greenhouses in Rochelle, Ill., Culpepper County, Va., and Bucks County, Pa. Retail customers include Walmart, Giant and Roundy’s.
The company plans to launch more products this spring.
The company has grown by more than 1,800 percent in the last three years with the development of greenhouse farms for leading retailers like Ahold-Delhaize and Roundy’s (Kroger). Earlier this year, Inc. Magazine ranked BrightFarms number 235 on their list of the 500 fastest growing private companies in America.
With plans to open 15 new greenhouses across the U.S. in the next three years, Catalyst portfolio company BrightFarms has hired Erik Lallum as Vice President of Design, Construction and Facilities. Erik will be responsible for leading all greenhouse development, including real estate, design, engineering and construction.
Catalyst-backed BrightFarms Inc. broke ground in Wilmington on its first greenhouse farm in Ohio. The 120,000 square-foot farm will provide locally grown salad greens and herbs to supermarkets in the Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus metro areas. The farm will create 30 permanent jobs, reduce the amount of miles food has to travel to consumers and improve the environmental impact of the food supply chain.
BrightFarms ranked #235 among America’s fastest growing private companies, solidifying its position as the leader in sustainable local produce for supermarkets. It ranked 10th among all food companies on the Inc. 500 and is the only produce company to be included in the list. A comprehensive list of high growth private companies across the U.S., the Inc. 500 previously featured some of America’s most recognizable food brands, including Door to Door Organics, Clif Bar and Chobani.
Martel comes from food technology company It’s Fresh! He previously worked for 16 years at Fresh Express, subsidiary of Chiquita that specializes in bagged salads. He will be responsible at BrightFarms for developing partnerships with supermarkets and for sales and account management.
To find the 25 ag-tech startups that carry the most potential, Forbes.com surveyed the agricultural technology landscape by speaking with experts, venture capitalists and accelerators, and then examined financials and each company’s agricultural credentials.
The demand for hyper-local produce is booming, and BrightFarms is building and operating greenhouses in urban and suburban areas. The company partners with supermarkets like Giant, ACME, and Pick-n-save and puts the farm at or near the store to maximize produce freshness.