Aug 2, 2017
AppHarvest selects SUNSET to regnite Coal Country

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, announced July 29 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 boarders lie within a day’s drive of 65 percent of the U.S . 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.

SUNSET is a pioneer and industry leader in the gourmet greenhouse industry that grows and markets nationally recognized brands such as the Campari, Zima, Angel Sweet and Kumato brand tomatoes. Family owned and employee managed for over 60 years, SUNSET prides itself on producing consistently flavorful gourmet tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

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 varieties of non-GMO verified greenhouse-grown tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and other non-GMO verified products (including organics) on a year round basis. Mastronardi’s proprietary rights to varietals, national distribution footprint, large grower network and food safety and traceability programs have positioned the company to be the produce supplier of choice for customers and end-consumers.

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 high-tech greenhouses growing fresh vegetables for local communities in the US. AppHarvest will be able to to deliver our fresh produce to the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest of the U.S .within a day’s drive.

Source: AppHarvest

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