Bright future here now: BrightFarms celebrates its first local harvest


New facility celebrates first local harvest

By John Hamilton - jhamilton@wnewsj.com



Apprentice Grower Johnny O’Neal, right, takes a group of locals on a tour of BrightFarms, the first national brand of locally grown produce, on Friday.

Apprentice Grower Johnny O’Neal, right, takes a group of locals on a tour of BrightFarms, the first national brand of locally grown produce, on Friday.


John Hamilton | News Journal

BrightFarms Marketing VP Abby Prior, left, watches General Manager Brian Stephens cut the ribbon as the first harvest of lettuce at BrightFarms on Friday.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Mitch Heaton from Dayton Development Coalition speaks at a special event celebrating BrightFarms’ first harvest on Friday.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Abby Prior, Marketing VP of BrightFarms, welcomes attendees to the celebration of BrightFarms’ first harvest on Friday.


John Hamilton | News Journal

BrightFarms’ first lettuce harvest.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth speaks during a celebration of BrightFarms’ first harvest on Friday.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Apprentice Grower Johnny O’Neal loads BrightFarms’ first harvest during a special event on Friday.


John Hamilton | News Journal

WILMINGTON — Both the local economy — and perhaps your next salad — are looking a little brighter thanks to BrightFarms’ first local harvest.

A special event on Friday at the new Davids Drive facility gave local officials and residents a chance to see how the nationwide greenhouse operates and what they offer for the community and surrounding region.

BrightFarms owns and operates indoor, hydroponic greenhouses that individually produce more than 800,000 pounds of locally grown salad greens and herbs. The teams will be working in a climate-controlled greenhouse year-round.

The Wilmington greenhouse greens will be available at Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus retailers starting in August.

Each package will highlight that the greens grew in Wilmington.

Speakers at Friday’s event included Mitch Heaton from Dayton Development Coalition, BrightFarms Marketing VP Abby Prior, and Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth.

“This is not the kind of agriculture I grew up with,” said Stanforth in his speech. “We are now assured fresh locally grown produce year round. We’re pleased that this company has decided to put its roots down here.”

BrightFarms has hired 30 people from the Wilmington area. The company states that employees are offered a living wage, full benefits, vacation, 401(k), gym membership and the opportunity for growth within the company.

Clinton County Commissioner Kerry Steed also spoke, and he read a letter from U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

Ellen Short, a representative of the office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio), read a letter from him.

Both senators praised BrightFarms and what they’re bringing to Ohio.

After the speeches, guests were asked to don hairnets as they were led to a special ribbon-cutting by General Manager Brian Stephens, welcoming in the first harvest of lettuce.

Attendees also got a look at how the lettuce is harvested and how vegetables are grown through a tour of the greenhouse.

BrightFarms greenhouses are also located in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Virginia, and they will have a location in Texas in 2019.

For more information about BrightFarms, visit www.brightfarms.com .

Apprentice Grower Johnny O’Neal, right, takes a group of locals on a tour of BrightFarms, the first national brand of locally grown produce, on Friday.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_DSC_0096.jpgApprentice Grower Johnny O’Neal, right, takes a group of locals on a tour of BrightFarms, the first national brand of locally grown produce, on Friday. John Hamilton | News Journal

BrightFarms Marketing VP Abby Prior, left, watches General Manager Brian Stephens cut the ribbon as the first harvest of lettuce at BrightFarms on Friday.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_DSC_0029.jpgBrightFarms Marketing VP Abby Prior, left, watches General Manager Brian Stephens cut the ribbon as the first harvest of lettuce at BrightFarms on Friday. John Hamilton | News Journal

Mitch Heaton from Dayton Development Coalition speaks at a special event celebrating BrightFarms’ first harvest on Friday.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_DSC_0991.jpgMitch Heaton from Dayton Development Coalition speaks at a special event celebrating BrightFarms’ first harvest on Friday. John Hamilton | News Journal

Abby Prior, Marketing VP of BrightFarms, welcomes attendees to the celebration of BrightFarms’ first harvest on Friday.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_DSC_0001.jpgAbby Prior, Marketing VP of BrightFarms, welcomes attendees to the celebration of BrightFarms’ first harvest on Friday. John Hamilton | News Journal

BrightFarms’ first lettuce harvest.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_DSC_0113.jpgBrightFarms’ first lettuce harvest. John Hamilton | News Journal

Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth speaks during a celebration of BrightFarms’ first harvest on Friday.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_DSC_0006.jpgWilmington Mayor John Stanforth speaks during a celebration of BrightFarms’ first harvest on Friday. John Hamilton | News Journal

Apprentice Grower Johnny O’Neal loads BrightFarms’ first harvest during a special event on Friday.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_DSC_0075.jpgApprentice Grower Johnny O’Neal loads BrightFarms’ first harvest during a special event on Friday. John Hamilton | News Journal
New facility celebrates first local harvest

By John Hamilton

jhamilton@wnewsj.com

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574