As people living in the Midwest, we’ve become accustomed to unpredictable weather. In fact, it’s not uncommon to have our winter coats near our summer sandals, just in case we experience a few seasons in one day. Although people can easily adjust to dramatic changes in weather by adding or shedding layers, it’s a little more complicated for a grocery store.
At Heinen’s we strive to uphold our 90 year legacy of finding the best to sell the best. If you’ve stopped by our Produce Department, you’ve likely noticed that a lot of our produce comes from farms right in our own backyard, but what happens when temperatures drop unexpectedly or the snow begins to fall in November and sticks around until April? We don’t have to worry, because our local greenhouse growers have us covered with their state-of-the art growing facilities that provide our favorite produce at peak freshness year-round.
Over time, we’ve partnered with a variety of local greenhouse growers; however, when it comes to lettuce, we look no further than the Buckeye state’s own Buckeye Fresh. Located in Medina, Ohio, Buckeye Fresh defines the idea that fresh perspectives are always welcome in any business.
When we say fresh perspective, we mean that the Buckeye Fresh team came to the greenhouse industry with little to no background in farming at all. In fact, owners, Tim Remington, Kim Hookway and Corey Remington actually pull most of their experience from the manufacturing industry. Yet, with a combined passion for greenhouse growing, their vertical farm has become a premium source of local lettuce for Heinen’s.
Buckeye Fresh is surely unique for its entrance into the greenhouse growing industry, but when visiting their facility, we quickly learned that their strategy for growing lettuce is what sets them apart. Unlike the traditional greenhouse where produce spans in rows as far out as the eye can see, Buckeye Fresh grows their lettuce in columns going up as far as the eye can see. This method is called vertical growing, and with the help of LED lights, continuously recycled water and absolutely no pesticides, this system is engineered to provide plants with everything they need to flourish during their 17-21 days growing cycle.
Today, Buckeye Fresh has 20 vertical planting systems in operation growing both conventional and organic lettuce. On top of this expansion, they hope to expand further into research and development to create more new products.
Although their sights set high (literally) they keep their team small with with the three Tim, Kim and Corey leading the business along with a team of 24 employees. Together they work to manage, grow harvest and hand package all of the Buckeye Fresh produce that you see in our stores.
For coming into the greenhouse growing business with little experience, it’s safe to say that the Buckeye Fresh team has turned their fresh perspective on growing into something truly valuable. For nearly 3 years, they have provided pristine lettuce directly to our stores year-round helping us keep our “buy the best to sell the best” philosophy alive and thriving even in the unpredictable Midwest weather.