During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many business sectors have shut down or slowed down. In the greenhouse produce space, that is also true. Some businesses have also seen significant number of employees contract the coronavirus.
However, some businesses are still moving forward and finding success amid an unpredictable environment. Here are three examples.
Fifth Season – Braddock, Pennsylvania
In June, Fifth Season, a farming company based just outside of Pittsburgh, announced the launch of its e-commerce platform, allowing the company to ship its products directly to customers. Previously, Fifth Season relied on retail partners such as Whole Foods and Giant Eagle to get its product to customers.
In the past few years, other growers, including Burton, Ohio-based Great Lakes Growers, have launched their own direct-to-consumer models.
The Fifth Season platform offers greens, along with two different salad kits: Crunchy Sesame and Sweet Grains. A variety pack is available as well. Each pack comes with all the ingredients needed to make a salad. For example, the Crunchy Sesame option features the Three Rivers Blend (consisting of leaf broccoli, green mizuna, red pac choi, red frilly mustard and red mustard greens) plus sesame sticks, dried cranberries and a ginger dressing. Each is available in a two-pack for $17.50 or a four-pack for $35.
Infarm – Germany
Infarm, a start-up that aims to bring CEA into grocery stores, is currently seeking $200 million in SeriesC funding to continue its expansion into new markets. According to a report from the Financial Times, Infarm raised $140 million of its goal as of late June. The funding also values the company at ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’, per the report, far surpassing the $100 million it was valued out in 2019.
Currently, Infarm has partnerships with Kroger in the United States and, in May, signed a deal with Aldi grocery stores in Germany. In addition to the U.S. and Germany, it has farms in the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland.
Sollum Technologies – Québec, Canada
Québec, Canada-based Sollum Technologies raised $2.7 million Canadian (about $2 million U.S.) in a seed round of investing. Backing included support from various firms that invested in it previously, but also from two leading Canadian investors: François Arbour and Jean-François Grenon.
Sollum, founded in 2015, is a smart LED lighting technology company that reproduces the full spectrum of the sun’s natural light. Per its website, it works directly with clients to develop light recipes adapted to the growth cycle of every product. Some of its partners include greens and herb producer La Boîte Maraîchère and The Chef’s Garden, a company that grows produce with specific nutritional qualities.