Located the country. The farm distributes their
Located in Loudon, New Hampshire, L?f Farm is a 75,000 square-foot 100% hydroponic greenhouse.
All L?f produce is grown in the heart of NewEngland, on the family-run hydroponic farm, previously known as Pleasant ViewFarm. The company views New Hampshire,Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and New York as theirneighbors. The close proximityeliminates the wasted fuel, energy, and time required to truck greens in fromthe other side of the country. The farm distributes their products to grocers,institutions, food services and consumers with fresh, tasty and healthy mixedgreens from the other side of town, not the other side of the country. Over 95% of salad greens we all eatcome from California, Arizona, or Mexico. This means your greens spend up toseven days in a truck before they get to your store and then to your plate. Since fresh greens aren’t really fresh unlessthey’re eaten right after they’re harvested, L?fFarm strives to get their greens into your hands within 24 hours of whenthey’ve been picked. L?f farm is 100% hydroponic,which translates to enhanced food safety, consistent high quality, and a moresustainable growing environment.
“Everydelivery of L?f greens eliminates a 3,000-mile truck journey from the WestCoast which means less pollution, less fuel consumption, and fresher flavor.” The design of L?ffarms is to efficiently produce a large amount of greens in a small space,which makes New England less dependent on those lengthy road trips for healthy,delicious greens. Additionally, when youbuy L?f salad greens it supports the local economy and food supply chain byrelying on local resources.The production of lettuce in a greenhouse requires precise and advancedtechnology adopted by the Green Automation, a Finland-based company that haddeveloped two growing systems. These systems include: The Living Lettuce Systemfor growing lettuce heads, living lettuces and larger herbs; and the Baby LeafLettuce System for growing baby leaf plants such as leaf lettuce, pac-choimustard green, red and green kale, and arugula. The two systems are designed to maximize efficiency in leafy greensproduction by using every inch of space for growing, bringing in high yieldsper square foot using a gutter system. The Green Automation systems can beautomated from medium filling and seeding to harvesting and packaging.
Thegrowing lettuce is moved automatically through the greenhouse with bothsystems. The main differences lie in gutter widths, the seeding, and thetransplanting process. The systems both address the three major challenges forindoor farming: energy efficiency, space efficiency, and labor efficiency. The biggest benefits of these systems,according to Borenius, is the ability to operate a facility with a small numberof people and keep input costs low. L?f Farms is able to produce up to 15 varieties oflettuce and other greens with two days in germination and an average of twoweeks in the light before the greens are harvested. The entire greenhouseencompasses 75,000 square feet of lighted facility, with a 60-foot by 160-footgermination area underneath. Everything within the germination area movesautomatically up into the greenhouse after the process is complete.
Grandmaison states, “The faster and more efficiently we can produce greens with less humancontact, the more greens we can produce per square foot that are healthy andhave a great chance to be clean and free of foodborne illnesses. Eliminatinghands on the crop reduces the risk of foodborne illness significantly, whichmeans we can then hone our system and keep our team focused and fine-tuned.”L?f Farms invested in a concept that helps the companymix, blend, and package in a walk-in cooler. Packaging is done using an open-box design to efficiently remove theheat, with special plastic film laminates that are laser perforated to allowair exchange without losing moisture. By harvesting the greens in a cooler at 35°F,it rapidly removes heat and locks in the fresh taste, increases post-harvestperformance, extends shelf life, and preserves the deliciousness.
When L?f Farmscompletes this process, the consumer gains 15 more days to use the product,which translates to less food waste and more confidence from the customers thatare getting a higher quality product.L?f Farms presently has two primary customer bases,local supermarket chains and restaurant/foodservice operations. Thefarm is looking for companies’ that are accustomed to working with local growersand developing programs around those growers. Thefarm-to-table movement is especially strong in New Hampshire, and the goal at L?fFarms, according to Grandmaison, is to “positionits salad mixes as unique in comparison to what a consumer can buy from Californiaor even other suppliers in the Northeast.” The farm grows food year-round which meansyou can rely on the greens to be as delicious in January as they are in July. There is oftenboth a higher standard and a higher cost attached to locally grown produce,which means consumer education is critical. “We’ve done well at educating ourdistributors and retail partners. By highlighting what makes our farmdifferent, we can focus on value rather than price,” Grandmaison says.
“For years we have come to learn that foodshould be cheap, especially salad greens. But the market wants somethingdifferent, something healthy, nutritious, and most importantly, grown nearby.More and more people are willing to invest in that.” L?f Farms uses their sister company PleasantView, for their distribution purposes.L?f Farms is establishing an online presence with thelaunch of its new website, Lef-Farms.com.
The new site displays clean, modern look thatgives customers all the information they need from bite-size portions, shortnews items to where to find L?f greens, quick summaries about eachproduct. Customers can also learn thebenefits of hydroponic farming, while gaining a better understanding of what itmeans to be “farm to table.” The website also provides a summary of the keystaff members at the facility that keeps the Farm moving forward. The site’s produce section introduces theunique blends L?f Farm has to offer. Smooth, a blend of leaf lettuce, pac choi,mizuna, and oakleaf. Spice, a blend of arugula, mustard, cressida, mizuna, andleaf lettuce.
Balance, a blend of slightly sweet and delicate red and greenkale.