DEVENS, Mass. — Little Leaf Farms, the country's no. 1 brand of packaged lettuce sustainably grown through controlled environment agriculture (CEA), announced it will open a new, state-of-the-art greenhouse in McAdoo, Pennsylvania, this fall.
This will be the fifth greenhouse for Little Leaf Farms, and the brand's second greenhouse in Pennsylvania. With the expanded capacity of 10 additional acres of indoor production of fresh, sustainably grown lettuce, Little Leaf Farms will increase its retail presence to nearly 5,000 grocery stores, making its fresh greens available at most major retailers from the Midwest to the Southeast.
The expansion news was shared at a ceremony the brand hosted on May 31, welcoming Gov. Josh Shapiro and other state representatives to celebrate Little Leaf Farms' growth in Pennsylvania. Little Leaf Farms owns 180 acres in McAdoo and has rapidly grown to be the largest producer of indoor-grown leafy greens in the state. The company opened its first 10-acre greenhouse in July of 2022 and expects to employ over 170 by the end of 2023.
"We believe in the CEA industry's role in the path to more sustainable produce production and are focused on our mission of delivering fresh and delicious leafy greens to consumers," said Paul Sellew, founder and CEO of Little Leaf Farms. "We continue to build on our ambitious plans for growth and our expansion in Pennsylvania is a testament to how we've been able to continuously scale our efficient production and operations. We're thrilled to have increased our retail sales by more than 50% in the past year and to be the #1 brand of packaged lettuce sustainably grown through CEA in the country."
These 10 additional acres under glass represent a significant capacity increase, enabling Little Leaf Farms to harvest more than 20 million pounds of leafy greens yearly across its sites. The new greenhouse will employ Little Leaf Farms' state-of-the-art technology and efficiencies, including advanced heating, cooling and lighting systems, as well as utilize the natural power of the sun and fresh rainwater. The greenhouse will also integrate the brand's hands-free automated grow system, which means the leafy greens are untouched from seed to packaging and never require washing. Little Leaf Farms' lettuce is farmed 365 days a year, harvested daily and delivered from greenhouse to grocery store in 24 hours.
"Pennsylvania has been an excellent partner in bringing our vision for expansion to life," said Sellew. "With its ideal location on the East Coast, we've been able to grow significantly to the Southeast and are now looking forward to even more growth in the Midwest to bring our delicious and fresh greens to more consumers, all still within 24-hours of harvesting for ultimate freshness."
The brand also presented a $10,000 donation to Feeding Pennsylvania, a local nonprofit that works to secure food and other resources to reduce hunger and food insecurity across the state. The funds will be distributed to Feeding Pennsylvania's member food banks to assist individuals throughout the area facing food insecurity.
"Feeding Pennsylvania is thrilled to partner with Little Leaf Farms and to accept this $10,000 donation, which will be allocated to each of our nine member food banks serving all 67 counties of Pennsylvania," said Shea Saman, interim CEO and CFO of Feeding Pennsylvania. "Food Banks in Pennsylvania and across the country are facing growing financial challenges due to rising demand for food assistance, increasing costs for food and other operating expenses, and disruptions to the supply chain for essential food commodities. This financial support will help food banks bridge the gap to ensure that they can continue to meet the growing needs of communities across Pennsylvania."
Continuing its mission to transform the way food is grown and bring fresh, leafy greens to all, Little Leaf Farms remains focused on scalable expansion and growth. The brand recently announced its projection to break $100 million in retail sales by the end of 2023, and with capacity to continue building out additional space in Pennsylvania, looks forward to expanding its greenhouse footprint in both Pennsylvania as well as in Devens, Massachusetts, where it operates three greenhouses.