Nation's Largest Commercial Hydroponic Greenhouse To Open In Monroe County
15 Acre Hydronov Aquaponic Greenhouse Comes to Rochester, New York
Clearwater Organic Farms LLC will soon start construction of a 15 acre (6.07 hectare) commercial leafy greens production facility in Monroe County, New York. The plans were announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday. The project will make use of Hydronov's leafy greens deep water floating raft technology and is estimated to create 137 new jobs.
The state-of-the-art greenhouse facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. The production system is designed by Canadian manufacturer Hydronov. This company has developed similar commercial projects in China, Mexico, Canada, the U.S., Japan and France. Hydronov's system, that has a big focus on the use of automation, enables growers to operate a leafy greens production with 5 to 10 workers per hectare, depending on the type of crop and level of automation.
The Hydronov system makes use of a high density system for leafy greens production. In close cooperation with suppliers like the Italian horticultural machinery company DaRos, the company has developed their own tray system that enables intensive automation from seeding, to transplanting, harvesting and packing. Most of the transportation in the system is done over water, instead of mechanical conveyors.
At the new Clearwater Organic Farms facility, most of the jobs will be in packaging, shipping, receiving and warehousing. 55 of those jobs are reserved for veterans or those who are underemployed. In order to encourage Clearwater Organic Farms to build in the Finger Lakes region, Empire State Development has offered up to $4 million in Upstate Revitalization Initiative funding and $2 million in Excelsior jobs tax credits, which are tied to the commitment to create more than 135 new jobs. The total cost of the project is approximately $50 million.
"We are very pleased with the level of support that we’ve received from the State of New York, the County of Monroe and COMIDA to bring innovative and leading technology to the Finger Lakes Region", said Clearwater Organic Farms Chief Executive Officer, Phillip Theodor. "We’ll be providing pesticide free, fresh, locally grown and organic produce on a year round basis to the consumers in a 400 mile radius of the city of Rochester."
The new facility for Clearwater is expected to be completed by the end of this year.