BrightFarms, a packaged salads company, will create 54 jobs in Henderson County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $21 million to operate a hydroponic greenhouse in the Etowah community of Henderson County.
“Agriculture has always been a strong driver in North Carolina, and BrightFarms’ expansion is good for our state. They are committed to conserving water, land and energy resources while growing their business--green economic development that is good for the company, the community and the workers who will support them,” said Governor Cooper.
BrightFarms grows leafy salad greens and herbs including spring mix, spinach, baby kale, romaine and arugula. The company describes its local greens, which are grown in a safe, secure and clean indoor environment without the use of pesticides, as beyond organic. By growing produce close to its consumers, BrightFarms’ produce is delivered to supermarkets in as little as 24 hours of harvest, about a week faster than leafy greens grown on the West Coast.
BrightFarms’ North Carolina greenhouse will be the company’s sixth and one of its largest locations to date. At full production, the 280,000SF state-of-the-art greenhouse in Hendersonville could produce up to two million pounds of leafy greens each year.
“Today’s consumers are searching for produce that’s fresher, safer and responsibly grown. It’s the reason that locally grown food has become the #1 purchase driver in produce for supermarkets,” said Steve Platt, CEO of BrightFarms. “We are incredibly grateful for the support from Governor Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Commerce and look forward to bringing local, pesticide-free leafy greens to North Carolina and neighboring states.”
“North Carolina is a great location for innovators like BrightFarms to do business,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “The company will join more than 1,000 food and beverage manufacturers in our state and will have their local produce available to a large supply chain along the East Coast.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s support for the company’s decision.
Although wages will vary depending on the position, the average for all new positions could reach up to $41,693. The current average annual wage in Henderson County is $38,297.
A performance-based grant of $55,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate BrightFarms’s operation in Henderson County. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
“The positive business climate of North Carolina continues to be recognized nationally,” said N.C. Senator Chuck Edwards. “We are particularly fortunate in Henderson County that there is such a collaborative effort between government, education, workforce, and economic development to attract and retain business that will offer our citizens job opportunities that will help enrich their lives.”
“BrightFarms is making a tremendous investment in our state,” said N.C. Representative Jake Johnson. “I know they will be very successful in Henderson County and the community is ready to support them.”
In addition to N.C. Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina Community College System, Agribusiness Henderson County and Henderson County.