What measures is BrightFarms taking to protect against COVID-19 (the coronavirus)?
A: A Message from BrightFarms on COVID-19: Your safety and wellbeing is our top priority. We are closely monitoring the situation with COVID-19 and plan to take all necessary precautions to keep our consumers, employees and partners safe. Our produce is grown inside of greenhouse farms, a controlled indoor environment, that allows us to grow produce in a safe, secure and clean environment. We use hair nets, gloves and aprons in our greenhouse, follow standard hand washing procedures and have foot baths at every entrance into the greenhouse to keep outside contaminants away from the plants. We follow good manufacturing and agricultural practices and we are proud that our growing process is one of the cleanest and safest in the industry. You can learn more about this on our website’s “How We Grow” page. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have instituted several additional safety measures:
- Our company policy instructs employees not to come into work if they are sick or experiencing any signs of an infectious disease or illness. This policy will be strictly enforced and monitored during COVID-19.
- No visitors will be allowed to enter our greenhouses unless they play a critical role in the operation of our farm.
- All BrightFarms employees have been instructed to restrict travel during the month of March. Travel in April will be evaluated in the coming weeks and follow the same strict guidelines.
- We have rigorous and audited sanitation practices. The greenhouses have increased these practices daily. In the event that one of our greenhouse associates were to test positive for COVID-19, we have developed an emergency response plan that will double our daily sanitation procedures based on recommendations from the CDC.
BrightFarms salads are especially tender, why is that?
A: At BrightFarms we grow in an indoor, controlled environment, and sell our produce locally. Unlike field grown greens, which are subject to harsh weather conditions and a long journey from southern California across the US, our greens are grown for flavor and nutrition instead of durability. BrightFarms greens are grown in water in a hydroponic system and given the perfect amount of nutrients, so they don’t 'struggle' which can cause greens to become tough and bitter. Given this perfect environment, and a short drive to the local supermarket, we are able to harvest them at their best which results in beautifully fresh and tender salads.
Do I have to wash BrightFarms greens?
A: There is no need to wash! All of BrightFarms products are ready to eat. Our greens are grown in a controlled environment, inside of greenhouse farms, which allows for cleaner, safer, and pesticide free produce. You do not need to wash our produce unless you prefer to.
Arugula looks different – why is it round?
A: Our arugula has a rounded leaf shape, but it’s still arugula! This variety may look a little different, but it still has that typical peppery arugula flavor. In fact, most say they prefer BrightFarms arugula because it is less bitter than its field-grown counterparts. It may look like spinach, but it's not spinach, trust us :).
Kale has a different shape, too!
A: Our Baby Kale is sometimes confused with arugula because of its toothed shape, but it is still Kale! We like this variety because it is delightfully light and tender compared to traditional kale. Give it a shot!
There are little pellets in my salad container – what is that?
A: Seeds! The seeds of our greens sometimes get into the packages when harvesting. This is especially common with our Baby Spinach. Seeds are edible and safe to eat. If you’ve received an unusually high amount of seeds in your greens please let us know.
There are small skinny leaves in my salad container – what is that?
A: These tiny starter leaves are called cotyledons - the first two leaves that emerge from the seed before the true leaves emerge. These are part of the leaf and are completely safe to eat, just like the true leaves. They are most commonly seen in our Baby Spinach. If you see an unusually high amount of cotyledons in your greens please let us know.
What is Sunny Crunch, Happy Beet, Fresh Kick, Arugula Lovers?
A: These items are unique to BrightFarms! For more info visit our products page.
I hate plastic. Why do you use it?
A: We hear you.. and honestly we hate plastic too! Which is why we are working on alternate packaging solutions. In the meantime our current packaging is made of 100% recycled plastic and is recyclable Nationally through municipal recycling, as a #1 RPET. If you do not get recycling collection at home you can look up a local communal recycling collection center in your area. Many Target, Wegmans, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and other grocery stores have recycling centers on site. Websites like earth911 and berecycled.org can help as well. Finally, we strongly recommend re-using your containers! We use them as storage containers (for pens, post-its, office supplies), to hold our seeds, or use them to organize your pantry! You can also use them to create a small, apartment friendly, compost bins. This is a nifty way to get rid of your food waste and put it to good use by producing more plants.
Is BrightFarms organic?
A: Organic certification is currently not possible for us - yet. Know that while BrightFarms is not certified organic, we use absolutely no pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, or fungicides in our greenhouses and all our products are non-GMO project certified. It is grown in the most "organic" of ways! In fact, BrightFarms goes beyond organic, because organic farming can (and does!) use pesticides. At BrightFarms, nothing goes on the plants except sunshine. We use crystal clean (reverse osmosis) water and vitamins + nutrients for plant health. Absolutely NO chlorine baths, no nitrogen flushes. We are committed to growing you the safest, healthiest, and cleanest greens possible.
What is the Nutritional Information for your products?
A: Please reference the USDA Food Composition Databases for nutritional information on the specific varieties we grow: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/
How We Grow
How does BrightFarms grow their products?
A: BrightFarms grows hydroponically inside greenhouse farms. We start with seeds, and plant them into a soil-free media. We let the plants grow on top of water, under sunshine, in a perfect temperature greenhouse and give them the vitamins and minerals they need through the water. We harvest them as a baby leaf, pack them that same day, and ship to stores within hours of harvest!
How do I know your salads are safe to eat?
A: BrightFarms greenhouses are much different than conventional agriculture. We do not share the pathogen risks associated with field grown crops at any of our facilities. Our indoor facilities keep our plants secure from animals, both wild and CAFOs. This eliminates the risk of contamination from excrement and pathogens that use the animal as a vector. Our hydroponic approach does not use dirt, soil, manure, or any other growing source that could cause contamination. Plants are grown on grow beds – clean, sterile media that suspend the plant roots in a hydroponic solution. Our water is sourced from either a municipality or a private well, and then treated with reverse osmosis and UV filtration as it enters into our facilities. This means that all of our water for growing and cleaning is potable and meets the strict EPA guidelines. Additionally we voluntarily test our product, water, and facilities surfaces once a week for harmful bacteria and pathogens. BrightFarms indoor CEA (controlled environment agriculture) greenhouse farms provide protection from harsh weather and eliminate the potential for contaminants to be blown in from nearby farms. Finally, our supply chain is extremely simple, and structurally safe. We grow, harvest, pack and ship from one greenhouse per market, and drive it directly to our customers with no entities in between; knocking out the middle man and the risks associated with it. We are proud that food safety is our #1 priority.
Do you use pesticides?
A: No! We do not spray our greens with any pesticides, herbicides or fungicides at all. Integrated Pest Management allows us to control the population of pests in the greenhouse without the use of pesticides or insecticides.
What does hydroponic mean?
A: Our lettuces and herbs absorb the nutrients they need through water, as opposed to field growing where nutrients are absorbed through the soil. The water keeps the greens hydrated and allows us to control vitamin and mineral uptake. The hydroponic system also allows no agricultural runoff, and water recirculation, which is tested frequently. This method uses 80% less water than traditional field grown produce.
Why do you grow in a greenhouse?
A: There are many benefits to growing in a greenhouse. First, we can provide fresh local greens year round, even in the winter, in the chilly mid-west and northeast. An indoor, controlled environment allows for less volatility due to weather and less exposure to pests. Growing in water eliminates soil contamination and allows us to control the input materials that go into the greens. A greenhouse is also more energy efficient than a vertical farm, because it can harness the power of earth’s greatest energy resource: the sun. It’s always 72 degrees and sunny at BrightFarms.
Do your farms use renewable energy?
A: BrightFarms is working to expand our use of renewable energy for our facilities through a number of initiatives. Ohio purchases 100% wind power to operate its facility. Future plans include evaluating on-site renewable energy generation, expanding our purchase of renewable energy, and seeking partnerships with complimentary businesses.
How can you get your products to stores so quickly?
A: In the US, most salad greens are grown in an outdoor field farm in California or Arizona, washed in a different location, packed in another, and trucked all over the country. At BrightFarms, our greens are grown, harvested, packed, and shipped out of one location – so you always know where your greens come from. And our farms are located close to our grocery stores. Most of our stores lie within a 200 mile radius of our farms (or a 4 hour drive) so we can quickly get freshly harvested product into the market.
Are your Greenhouses allergen free?
A: Our facilities are allergen free environments. We do not allow any outside food, especially allergens, into our production/processing areas.
Can I tour your farm?
A: Thank you for your interest in BrightFarms! We sometimes do tours for the community or specific education events. We can add your name and email address to our contact list to be notified of when we do an open house. Please send us a message through our contact us page.
When was BrightFarms founded?
A: BrightFarms was founded in 2011 from a desire to grow food in the same communities where it would be consumed. Our first greenhouse in Yardley, PA opened in 2013 and the rest is history!
How many farms do you have?
A: We currently have four greenhouse farms and we’re expanding!
Where is BrightFarms going next?
A: BrightFarms has plans to build greenhouses all across the United States. Contact Us to tell us where you would like to see us!