Cub Foods to Sell Produce Grown in St. Paul Greenhouse

A New York-based company will operate a St. Paul greenhouse that will grow tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs year-round for local Cub Foods stores.

Cub Foods will soon carry St. Paul-grown tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs year-round at its Twin Cities locations.

New York-based BrightFarms, Inc., has broken ground on a new 38,000-square-foot greenhouse in St. Paul that will grow produce and supply it to metro-area Cub Foods locations, the two companies announced Monday. BrightFarms will operate the greenhouse and will incur construction and operating costs; St. Paul-based J&J Distributing will process and distribute the harvest.

The produce will be grown in the greenhouse hydroponically—a technique of growing food without soil. Seeds are planted in a soft, permeable substrate, and the roots are fed solutions containing nutrients found in soil. The technique allows produce to be grown year-round, even during frigid winters.

BrightFarms spokeswoman Kate Siskel told Twin Cities Business that the greenhouse will cost between $1.5 million and $2 million to build.

Cub Foods and BrightFarms said that the St. Paul greenhouse will grow more than 350,000 pounds of lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs each year. Cub Foods expects to begin selling the locally-grown produce this fall.

“Cub Foods is committed to being the local neighborhood grocer for customers throughout the Twin Cities, and we are excited about the many possibilities this greenhouse can present in the future,” Chuck Lynch, senior vice president of operations for Cub Foods, said in a statement. “Consumers will have new opportunities to get fresh, locally-grown, and sustainable produce year-round as a result of this project.”

BrightFarms specializes in financing, building, and operating greenhouse farms at or near grocery stores. The company claims that such farming eliminates time, distance, and costs from the produce supply chain.

Cub Foods operates 69 stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, although the majority of its stores are located in the Twin Cities metro area. The grocery store chain is owned by Eden Prairie-based Supervalu, Inc., which is among Minnesota’s five-largest public companies based on revenue. Supervalu reported revenue of $36.1 billion for its fiscal year that ended in February.