Back in July 2021, when we last checked in with Redifarms, they had just received the local approvals needed to construct their Indoor Vertical Hydroponic Farm within the 100-year-old industrial building they purchased in Westfield, NJ. We visited with them recently, and they have been very busy over the past 2 years.
'The Greene Building,' as this historic structure is now called, has gone through an amazing transformation. While still not finished, Michele Modestino and Greg Redington, Wife and Husband team and Co-Founders of Redifarms, are excited to announce the opening of the first 1/3rd of their vertical farm, nicknamed 'Elm.'
Greg and Michele pictured in the R&D farm in Westfield
A broad product offering
With Elm's capacity to produce over 1,400 pounds of produce weekly, they are ramping up sales throughout Westfield and surrounding towns in Union County, NJ. "By growing a large number of crops including 20 varieties of Microgreens, 4 mixes of Baby Greens, a full array of whole head size leafy greens, herbs, edible flowers, peppers, and tomatoes, all being sold directly to the public at our retail store as well as wholesale to restaurants, we hope to be recognized as Union County's only year-round pesticide-free farm," says Michele.
"Crop diversity is one of the things that sets us apart from other vertical farms. We have designed several patent-pending growing systems that can support this variety efficiently," says Greg.
The current Redifarms team
High community involvement
"Other differentiations are our community engagement. We are within walking distance to one of the most vibrant downtowns in New Jersey, and they are excited to have us," Michele continues.
Research & Development are still located off-site at another old building in downtown Mountainside, NJ, as is their retail store. "We are getting an overwhelming response from the community for our retail store," Michele admits. "People have heard so much about us and are very excited to try our produce. We give out free samples in the store, and people are blown away by the flavors."
The official opening of the Redifarms facility in Westfield. Pictured are the Westfield Town Mayor Shelley Brindle and US Congressman of NJ Tom Kean Jr., and other members of Westfield's government, along with Greg and Michele, together with the Redifarms staff.
Expanding the reach
"There is still a lot of work to do," says Greg. "We are looking for a strong Restaurant Partner and Chef who would operate our up-scale plant-based Restaurant." They are also looking for investors to help finish the Westfield, NJ, location and build out the next 3 locations planned for Bergen, Morris, and Mercer Counties in New Jersey.
"We haven't selected the specific towns yet," says Michele, however, it will come down to who is the most interested in having Redifarms in their town. Much like Trader Joe's is a destination that people travel to shop at, we think Redifarms, with our year-round farm, farm market, restaurant, teaching kitchen, event space, and 501(c)3 education component will be a retail destination that any town would love to call their own."
"Our business model includes steady profit margins of over 30% for each location. While this creates a dependable profit stream for our investors, it is not the skyrocketing growth many VCs are looking for. Impact funds and Family Offices are better aligned for our model, and we hope to find one that will take our brand national," Greg continues.