April 19, 2024

Innovation & Tech Today


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Agricultural Technology Moves into Peach County, GA

Think of it as new technology meeting your dinner plate. When Pure Flavor sought out a new growing space in the United States, they turned to Peach County – not for ground alone, but to make it possible to produce vegetables for America’s dinner tables for all four seasons. The old rules of buy land and grow were out. In came an economic partnership with grow centers, infrastructure, and top-flight grow technology, on just 75 acres.

The $105-million Pure Flavor Georgia Greenhouse Facility, the company’s largest-ever investment, took first hold in fall 2018, one year after ground was broken. That is when the first 25 acres of tomatoes and seedless cucumbers were picked, the first harvest of what is now a year-round operation. It also culminated a joint effort between the Development Authority of Peach County (DAPC), Pure Flavor, and Dutch builder Havecon to create the most sophisticated vegetable growing facility of its kind in the U.S.

The highlight of the greenhouse technology is its environment control. It begins with some natural ingenuity: plants are grown in nutrient-rich recycled coconut husks, not soil or peat. This adds to the nutritive value of the vegetables and saves water. As for the facility’s water, it is all recycled. In addition, the amount of water and heat are controlled, and they utilize integrative pest management.

Also in fall 2018, Pure Flavor announced it had broken ground on its third U.S.-based distribution center, a 60,000-square-foot structure just ten minutes from the greenhouse facility.

The facility’s existence fulfills one of PureFlavor’s missions: to reduce or eliminate the seasonality of key vegetables in our food cycles. In working with the DAPC, Pure Flavor, which began in Canada in 2003, has invested in both technologies and jobs, hiring local workers who are steeped in an agricultural tradition that dates back centuries. Pure Flavor’s presence is also creating new businesses to provide the specialized services that weren’t formerly available.

Peach County is the first of what will be several strategically placed Pure Flavor grow centers in North America. Pure Flavor chose its Fort Valley center from more than 300 sites due to the area’s growing potential, logistics and distribution advantages, and economic incentives. From the center, Pure Flavor’s produce can reach 80 million people within 24 hours, making its year-round line of tomatoes and cucumbers, along with seasonal peppers and eggplant, accessible to the entire southeastern U.S.

“The strategic investment in Peach County is one that will not only expand our acreage but will also create opportunities to strengthen and grow our retail and foodservice partnerships across the southeast with Georgia-grown vegetables,” said Pure Flavor President Jamie Moracci.

“Having Pure Flavor invest in Peach County is proof positive that our community is attractive to newcomers and major international companies,” DAPC Executive Director B.J. Walker said. “It is confirmation that we possess all of the necessary qualities and assets that are ideal for a business to succeed and grow, and we are thrilled and excited to welcome Pure Flavor into the Peach County family.”

By Robert Yehling

By Robert Yehling

Robert Yehling is a former Editorial Director of Sustainability Today, and STEM Today. He is the author, co-author and ghostwriter of 18 books, including the acclaimed "Just Add Water" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), the biography of autistic surfing great Clay Marzo, a finalist for the 2015 Dotty Gray Literature Award for outstanding writing on autism; and “Writes of Life: 366 Exercises to Fulfill Your Writing Life” (Open Books Press), called by the Midwest Book Review “the most comprehensive, diverse, and enjoyable writing exercise book on the market.”

Yehling has edited and shepherded more than 130 books in all genres,
including New York Times bestselling memoirist Lynne Martin ("Home Sweet Anywhere"), and 2015 International Book Award and IPPY Gold Medal winner for Visionary Fiction Lynnda Pollio ("Trusting the Currents"). His engaging, informative presentations have inspired writers for 15 years, and take him to conferences and classrooms throughout the country.

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