By Rachel Nix, Building Kentucky
A high-tech greenhouse in eastern Kentucky is making headlines again – and earning big-name endorsements for its first harvest.
Agri-tech startup AppHarvest’s beefsteak tomatoes are now available in select national retailers including Kroger, Publix, Walmart, Food City and Meijer. Grown in a 60-acre indoor farm in Morehead, this is the first-ever produce to be publicly available from the AgTech company.
How do the tomatoes taste? Culinary icon Martha Stewart says they are “extraordinary.” Stewart got an early sample as a member of AppHarvest’s board of directors.
Many more sustainably-grown tomatoes are to come, with 45 million pounds expected annually from about 75,000 plants at AppHarvest facilities around Kentucky. Greenhouses in Berea and Richmond are under construction with more facilities across the state and Central Appalachia in the works. Kentucky’s central location made it an ideal location for the AppHarvest operations.
AppHarvest farms are high-tech, designed to use 90% less water with yields up to 30 times higher compared to open-field agriculture on the same amount of land. Tomatoes are grown using recycled rainwater with naturally-bred, non-GMO seeds and zero chemical pesticides.