PIKEVILLE, Ky., Aug. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Jonathan Webb's vision of bringing a renewed economic boom to the Appalachians looks to be bright. Wisely he has brought in the industry pioneer and expert to launch his mountain top greenhouse in the heart of America.
Agricultural startup AppHarvest, and Mastronardi Produce Ltd., North America's leading grower and distributor of specialty and commodity greenhouse produce that operates under the SUNSET® brand, today announced that they have partnered to help develop high-tech greenhouses in the Kentucky and West Virginia Appalachian region.
"We are very excited to be partnering with AppHarvest and to support their plan of bringing high-tech greenhouse jobs to this Appalachian region and fresh, local year round produce to key markets," said Paul Mastronardi, President and CEO of Mastronardi Produce. "AppHarvest shares our passion for developing local communities and our commitment to providing 'fresh from the farm' produce to our customers that we believe is critically important to our success."
AppHarvest Founder and CEO, Jonathan Webb, said his team is committed to bringing the high-tech greenhouse industry to the heart of coal country and believes that Mastronardi is the perfect partner. "We believe that Mastronardi Produce has the most talented and successful greenhouse team in the world and their SUNSET® brand is one of the top brands in produce today. Our partnership with them will set us up for success and allow us to build a scalable model in the region."
"Jonathan has identified terrific pieces of land to erect the facilities and secured enormous support throughout the region. His dedication to this project is unmatchable," Mastronardi stated.
Over 10,000 jobs have been lost in Eastern Kentucky since the decline of coal. "The spirit of the region is unmatched and we want to work alongside those hardworking men and women," Webb said. "Our goal is to provide economic development and opportunity for this region."
The first project announced is in Eastern Kentucky on top of a reclaimed coal mine site and will be a 1.8 million square ft state of the art glass greenhouse. Webb stated that "as a gateway between the Midwest and South, Kentucky's borders lie within a day's drive of 65 percent of the US population and income. Building near these markets will significantly reduce transportation costs and will provide a much need local produce option for these regions." Mastronardi will be the exclusive marketer for AppHarvest.
About Mastronardi Produce
Founded in the 1940s, Mastronardi Produce is a family-run business that is the largest vertically- integrated producer and distributor of Greenhouse-grown produce in North America. The Company, whose produce is packed under the SUNSET® brand, sources, grows, packages, and distributes over 50 of the most flavorful, award-winning varieties of non-GMO verified greenhouse-grown tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and other non- GMO verified products (including organics) on a year round basis. The Company's nationally recognized specialty brands include the Campari®, Zima® Angel Sweet® and Kumato® tomatoes. Mastronardi's proprietary rights to varietals, national distribution footprint, large grower network and industry-leading food safety and traceability programs have positioned the Company to be the produce supplier of choice for customers and end-consumers. For more information, please visit Mastronardi's website at sunsetgrown.com.
AppHarvest is bringing Appalachia into the next generation of agriculture. The core of AppHarvest is built around a vision of employing the strong spirited individuals of the region. The startup is developing large-scale hi tech greenhouses growing fresh vegetables for local communities in the US. AppHarvest will be able to to deliver fresh produce to the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest of the US within a day's drive. To learn more about AppHarvest, visit appharvest.co.
Sydney N. Fulkerson
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