First Harvest Occurs As AppHarvest Continues Expansion Plans For Additional Indoor Farm To Meet The Increasing Demand For Sustainably
AppHarvest, a leading AgTech company building some of the country’s largest high-tech indoor farms to grow affordable, nutritious fruits and vegetables at scale, has announced that its first-ever harvest—Beefsteak tomatoes from its 60-acre Morehead, Kentucky, flagship indoor farm—will start to roll out in grocery stores this week. The sustainably grown tomatoes first will be available in select national retailers such as Kroger, Publix, Walmart, Food City and Meijer. Shoppers will be able to find the Beefsteak tomatoes in the produce aisle, co-branded with Sunset Grown, and the products are expected to be comparable in price to standard tomatoes. AppHarvest’s Beefsteak tomatoes are chemical pesticide-free, non-GMO and are grown with 100% recycled rainwater. This first harvest occurs as AppHarvest continues expansion plans for additional indoor farms to meet the increasing demand for sustainably grown U.S. produce. The company is preparing to list publicly after the closing of the previously announced business combination of AppHarvest with Novus Capital Corporation (Nasdaq: NOVS) and then will trade on Nasdaq under the ticker APPH.
At ramp-up, AppHarvest’s Morehead facility alone is expected to produce about 45 million pounds of tomatoes annually from about 720,000 tomato plants, a mix of Beefsteak and “Tomatoes on the Vine.” AppHarvest has two more facilities under construction—a similar 60-plus acre facility outside Richmond, Ky., and a 15-acre facility to grow leafy greens in Berea, Ky. AppHarvest also is planning for more facilities across Kentucky and Central Appalachia, with the goal of 12 total farms by the end of 2025. The AgTech company recently appointed AppHarvest Board Member David Lee as president to manage strategy and operations, while leading the sales, marketing and finance functions as AppHarvest continues to grow as a sustainable fresh foods company. Lee joins AppHarvest from Impossible Foods, where he has served as chief financial officer since 2015 and is credited with significant growth accomplishments including securing more than $1.3 billion in funding to accelerate manufacturing, product development and distribution.
In August 2020, AppHarvest announced that food entrepreneur and icon Martha Stewart and best-selling author and investor J.D. Vance would join the board of directors, alongside Inclusive Capital Partners Founder & Managing Partner Jeffrey Ubben and Rise of the Rest Seed Funds Partner Anna Mason and others committed to transforming the future of agriculture and supporting entrepreneurial efforts in Middle-America. AppHarvest’s high-tech indoor farms are designed to use 90% less water with yields that are up to 30 times higher compared to traditional open-field agriculture on the same amount of land. Its location in Appalachia allows it to deliver a strong social impact by building a diversified economy in economically distressed areas of the country, while enabling its products to reach about 70% of the U.S. population within a single day’s drive. As a result, AppHarvest expects to deliver fresher fruits and vegetables, ripened on the vine for peak flavor and nutrition, with an 80% reduction in diesel consumption required for transportation, as compared to produce shipped from Mexico.
“As a mission-driven company that prioritizes Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, this first harvest is monumental for our business, and we want to set a benchmark for the industry,” said Jonathan Webb, founder and CEO. “We are determined to build a climate-resilient infrastructure to offer folks a delicious tomato that is sustainably grown right here in Appalachia with 100% recycled rainwater and zero chemical pesticides, making it better for both them and the environment.” “AppHarvest’s high-tech, sustainable approach is the future of food, and this first harvest allows us to provide consumers with chemical pesticide-free, nutrient-rich, flavorful produce that’s making a difference they can feel good about,” said Martha Stewart, Board Member of AppHarvest. “I’ve been testing the early sample tomatoes, which are delicious, and I’m already looking forward to integrating them into my kitchen and recipes this year.”
This news was originally published at Business Wire