Clearwater Organic Farms Will Create Up to 137 New Jobs at Eastman Business Park
55 Jobs Guaranteed for Veterans or Underemployed New Yorkers
Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the groundbreaking of Clearwater Organic Farms’ state-of-the-art commercial hydroponic greenhouse in Monroe County. The company is constructing a 10-acre, 475,000 square-foot facility on the western edge of Eastman Business Park where it will produce fresh, locally grown, organic baby leaf greens year-round. The facility will be constructed on property owned by LiDestri Food & Drink. The project will create up to 137 new full-time jobs, most of which will be in packaging, shipping, receiving and warehousing – and 55 of those jobs are reserved for veterans or those who are underemployed to support the region’s anti-poverty agenda.
“The innovative Clearwater Organic Farms facility will no doubt drive innovation, create jobs for New Yorkers who need them most and bolster economic growth throughout the region,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Finger Lakes Forward economic strategy continues to generate momentum by attracting these types of high-growth industries to the region.
“The Eastman Business Park is continuing to grow with new businesses and increased opportunities for collaboration among its resident companies,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “The start of construction on a state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse will advance the area’s innovation economy and create over 100 jobs in Monroe County, including those for underemployed individuals and veterans. Clearwater Organic Farms’ investment in this new facility will continue to build on the success we’ve had attracting high-tech industry to the region and move the Finger Lakes Forward.”
The on-site process will use hydroponics to offer a local, pesticide-free alternative to traditional field-grown crops. It intends to build a clonable, scalable and sustainable food source system that can be replicated throughout the United States and the world. The company will initially focus on growing pesticide-free baby arugula, basil, spinach, and romaine using deep water hydroponic technology. The state-of-the-art facility is expected to begin harvesting in September 2020. The project will also be a significant user of the onsite RED Utilities at Eastman Business Park.
The controlled environmental agriculture facility uses 90 percent less water than field-grown alternatives, 20 percent of the land, and uses sophisticated computer systems to control plant growing conditions, plant quality, and energy usage. Clearwater Organic Farms is an indoor facility and is a fully vertically integrated operation with seeding, growing, harvesting, washing, packaging and cold storage on site. Clearwater will also team up with Love Beets, which operates a processing facility on the site. Clearwater will utilize the facility as a co-packer, cutting processing time and cost.
In order to encourage Clearwater Organic Farms to build in the Finger Lakes region, Empire State Development has offered up to $4 million in Upstate Revitalization Initiative funding and up to $2 million in Excelsior Jobs Tax Credits in exchange for job creation commitments. The total project cost is approximately $50 million. Supporting the economic redevelopment of Eastman Business Park and tackling the roots of poverty are among the top priorities of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and the region’s Finger Lakes Forward Initiative. EBP is becoming renowned as an incubator for innovative food companies.