South Bend-based Pure Green Farms says it is using some of the most advanced technology in the world to create a safe and sustainable environment for year-round farming. In a four-acre hydroponic indoor farm, the company is growing pesticide-free greens that are untouched by human hands until they reach the consumer’s kitchen. Chief Executive Officer Joe McGuire says technology is used to manage all aspects of the operation, including climate, irrigation and temperature.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, McGuire said the growth opportunity for the company is big.
“We think that we’re in a very good location to reach a lot of population and we think that we can be part of this evolution that’s happening in the marketplace where we’re changing supply chains and making them better,” said McGuire. “We’re making better products and we’re able to do it with less of a burden on the environment and less of a burden on land. I think we all know what’s going on on the West Coast; there’s a shortage of water, shortage of labor, so you’ve got all these pressures and we could do it better here and we could make it safer and fresher.”
McGuire says keeping the greens out of human hands is key.
“From the time that we sow the seeds to the time that we process the lettuce and get it into the container, everything is automated,” he said. “It’s all controlled by robotics and sensors all over the greenhouse and the harvesting area.”
Pure Green Farms last year secured nearly $30 million in funding and its products are already located in numerous Kroger and Martin’s Super Market stores. McGuire says the company plans to branch out its distribution.
“We’re also having a lot of really good conversations with food service companies and directly with restaurants and once these people eat the lettuce, I’m just amazed at the reaction,” said McGuire. “I’ve been in this business for 32 years and I get excited about lettuce and I’ve never been more excited with a product as this one, so it’s really fun.”