In May 2016, Golden Fresh Farms broke ground for a 20-acre greenhouse in Wapakoneta, about 60 miles north of Dayton. Less than a year later the greenhouse is not only complete, it’s already being used to hydroponically grow tomatoes for consumers in Ohio and other parts of the country.
Canada-based Golden Fresh Farms is a grower for and subsidiary of another Canadian company, Red Sun Farms. The greenhouse in Wapakoneta enables Golden Fresh Farms and Red Sun Farms to grow produce closer to their U.S. based customers, ensuring they get the freshest product even during the cold winter months.
Ohio’s proximity to major American markets was one of the key drivers behind the decision for Golden Fresh Farms to build in Ohio. The company’s first greenhouse sits near I-75 and U.S. 33, two highways that provide easy access to several large cities and other transportation routes. Ohio’s large agriculture sector was another draw.
Golden Fresh Farms invested $22.5 million to build the greenhouse, which brings 52 full-time jobs and an annual payroll of $1.9 million to the region. Paul Mastronardi and Louie Chibante, principle owners of Golden Fresh Farms, said the greenhouse is the first of a four-phase project that will require a $100 million capital investment. They also said the company could invest as much as $250 million to construct a total of 200 acres of greenhouses in an eight-phase build out.
Attracting the project to Wapakoneta involved a partnership of the city, the Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council, Dayton Development Coalition and JobsOhio.
“We are very pleased and excited that Golden Fresh Farms has selected our community for this project,” said Tom Stinebaugh, mayor of Wapakoneta. “Wapakoneta is known for many good things. Now we will be home to one of the largest, most modern and fully sustainable growers of vegetables in the nation.”