An indoor organic farm in Endicott is on the verge of some big growth. Big Yield Growers is located inside an old grocery store building in the Union district. It currently grows a wide variety of herbs, thyme, oregano, parsley, mint, and a lot of basil that are sold to about a dozen local restaurants and 80 supermarkets in the Weis and Shop Rite chains.
At the end of this month, the number of stores will expand to 200, and Big Yield Growers will begin supplying alfalfa, broccoli, and bean sprouts as well. The certified organic plants are grown in patented vertical grow units manufactured by partner 24-45 Organics.
One of Big Yield’s owners, Jim Dutcher, says their herbs taste better and are better for you. “The quality of the product is in the taste at the end. It’s your conventional backyard garden type of flavor that you remember as a kid growing up. And we’re able to do that on a very large scale,” he said.
And Dutcher says because they are grown locally, they stay fresh on regional supermarket shelves for up to 3 weeks. Big Yield Growers recently hosted a tour of its facility for Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Cornell Cooperative Extension Executive Director Beth Roberts.
Lupardo says the company not only addresses a desire for locally-grown, healthy food but can benefit the economy as well. “For me, this is also an opportunity to develop a workforce that may really be reluctant to get into the workplace. We’ve got a lot of people out there who I think would find this an attractive place to enter the workforce. I’m hoping that this will be part of our anti-poverty initiative in the end,” she says.
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