Colorado residents will soon be able to shop locally for lettuce and microgreens from hydroponic indoor vertical-farming company Kalera, which has opened a facility in the Denver area. The nearly 90,000-square-foot facility, located at 18000 E 40th Avenue, in Aurora, Colo., is the company’s fifth domestic farm, joining locations in Atlanta and Houston, as well as two in Orlando.
The first harvest at the Denver facility is scheduled for May.
“Increasing our national and global footprint has been a priority for our team as we seek to serve our major retail and foodservice customers,” said Curtis McWilliams, interim CEO of Orlando, Fla.-based Kalera. “Opening this facility is an exciting step towards this goal, and we’re proud to serve urban communities like Denver with clean, nutrition-dense leafy greens that are accessible to local consumers.”
Kalera greens are pesticide-free and non-GMO. The climate-controlled environments at the company’s facilities allow for sustainable farming methods that include water recycling and optimization of plant nutrient formulas to maximize production. Currently, all of Kalera’s large-scale U.S. farms are operating above the company’s 80% throughput yield target, with its newest facilities prior to Denver, Atlanta and Houston, having achieved this performance considerably ahead of schedule. Kalera is also making improvements in production capacity and corresponding revenues as demand for its products continues to rise. According to a company spokeswoman, its greens are sold at such grocers as Kroger, H-E-B and Walmart.
The Denver opening follows news of Kalera’s recent merger with Houston-based special-purpose acquisition company Agrico Acquisition Corp. The partnership will result in Kalera becoming the first vertical-farming company to go public on the NASDAQ market, which the company plans later this year.
Beyond the U.S., Kalera operates farms in Munich and Kuwait, with a facility slated to open in Singapore later this year.