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News / Business

High-tech lettuce farm debuts in east Pasco. Giant greenhouse officially opens

By Wendy Culverwell, Tri-City Herald
Published: May 9, 2024, 7:45am

KENNEWICK — Local Bounti Northwest made its official debut in Pasco on Tuesday morning.

The young ag tech firm celebrated operations at its 242,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse with a ribbon cutting, a visit by company executives and an employee appreciation lunch at the site, near East Lewis and “A” streets.

Local Bounti , based in Hamilton, Mont., built a greenhouse to grow lettuce and other leafy greens at 950 S. Elm St.

The warehouse features stackable growing systems to produce spring mix, butter lettuce, romaine crisp, green leaf and other lettuce blends for distribution through a national network of grocery chains.

The three-acre greenhouse was seeded in January and completed its food safety certification process in April. It employs 40 people. Pasco supports distribution to customers in the Pacific Northwest.

CEO Craig Hurlbert issued a statement for the occasion.

“We are proud to officially be able to call Pasco home with the opening of this latest facility, which enhances our rapidly growing distribution footprint across the U.S.,” he said.

Local Bounti was one of the Tri-Cities top business news stories in 2021, when it, Dairgold and Amazon confirmed major investments in Pasco.

Local Bounti fell behind its peers when it paused the Pasco project while it pursued its acquisition of Hollandia Produce Group Inc., aka “Pete’s,” a California-based indoor agriculture firm with its own set of greenhouses.

It resumed work in Pasco in 2022 when graders began preparing the site as it worked to establish growing facilities across the country.

Local Bounti products are carried locally at Yoke’s Fresh Markets.

On April 3, it received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange that it was not in compliance with the exchange’s minimum market capitalization standard because its market capitalization was less than $50 million.

Local Bounti said it would submit a plan within 45 days of receiving the notice.

The company is expected to issue an earnings statement later this week.

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