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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Nation’s largest greenhouse lettuce grower expands to Temple

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Photo courtesy of Casandra Staubo
TX Greenhouse Exterior

The world utilizes more artificial intelligence, or AI, than ever in producing self-driving cars, recognizing consumer behavior and now, growing lettuce. Revol Greens, the nation’s top greenhouse lettuce grower, has opened the world’s largest lettuce-growing facility in Temple, TX.

At 20 acres, Temple houses the largest Controlled Environment Agriculture, or CEA, lettuce facility in the world according to the company’s press release. In six and a half years, Revol Greens has become the market leader in greenhouse-grown lettuce. CEO Michael Wainscott said the crowning achievement will help the company better satisfy its mission and customers.

“This is a milestone moment for our team,” Wainscott said in a press release. “We are on a mission to provide fresh, affordable lettuce to consumers across the country. The addition of the Temple facility opens new markets to Revol Greens allowing for further reduction of food miles typically traveled within the U.S. salad market.”

Revol Greens started in Owatonna, MN roughly six years ago under the formation of its five founders. The founders shared a background in greenhouse operations and produce, primarily tomato plants. Director of Marketing Jess Dillion said the founders identified lettuce as the next line of produce to gain ground in the greenhouse-vegetable market.

“They looked at the space and saw the next line of produce to experience the benefits of greenhouse growing is leafy greens,” Dillion said. “So they started with sort of an idea and then made it happen and started selling out of our first greenhouse in 2017. The initial facility was two-and-a-half acres. They expanded to 10 acres in 2020, still focusing on Minnesota. They then got a facility in California at 16 acres. In 2021, they acquired a small greenhouse in Athens, [GA], which took us to the southeastern part of the U.S.”

There was no clearer option than to build the next indoor, lettuce facility in Temple, Dillion said.

“We started in the midwest, expanded west and went over to the southeast,” Dillion said. “We then identified a gap in the availability of greenhouse-grown lettuce in the north/south, central United States. We know there is a lot of Texas pride in things that are grown locally and made locally. From a category and consumer standpoint, it made sense to open a facility [in Texas].”

The new location provides proximity to Revol Greens’ customer distribution centers. The brand has distribution partnerships with H-E-B, Sprouts, Costco and many more popular retailers and grocers. Dillion said there are multiple benefits to growing lettuce in a greenhouse. These benefits include using 90% less water than traditional farming, keeping outside contaminants like animal and water runoff from interacting with the plants and increased automation and AI technology to ensure product safety. The greatest benefit stems from the fact that consumers can enjoy lettuce that stays fresh longer due to Temple’s central location, Dillion said.

“Our lettuce is harvested daily, 365 days a year,” Dillion said. “One of the benefits we provide to consumers who buy our products in-store is that the lettuce doesn’t have to spend a lot of time in a truck. We can deliver from Temple to the distribution center down the street. By the time [consumers] get to the store, our lettuce is still holding onto a lot of nutrients. Nutrients tend to degrade over time. As soon as you harvest those leaves they start to deteriorate. Our lettuce has more nutrients and stays incredibly fresh. They can spend a longer time in your refrigerator. You don’t have to use your salad bags or lettuce heads within two days. It’s still fresh and delicious after six days in your fridge.”

The use of automation and AI makes it feasible for Revol Greens to harvest every day of the year. While there are multiple AI technologies and automated components in the CEA facility, the new location has also created 130 jobs for workers to operate the machinery and palletize the products.

Half of the facility has conducted operations since the facility opened in May of this year. Dillion said what comes next for the company is the other ten acres becoming fully operational this month and improved safety practices under the guidance of a knowledgeable, public individual.

“We have recently partnered with Frank Yiannis, Former Deputy Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration,” Dillion said. “He will advise us on how we can elevate our food safety practices. There are always issues with food quality so we want to be at the forefront in preventing those issues from happening. We are always looking ahead in how we can bring our product to more consumers.”

To learn more about Revol Greens, visit their website. The brand’s products can also be found in grocers and retailers in Bryan-College Station.

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