SELINSGROVE, SNYDER COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A new greenhouse is lighting up a town in Snyder County after officially opening its doors this week.
BrightFarms in Selinsgrove opened its doors on Tuesday, making it now the largest indoor sustainable greenhouse in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The 300,000 square foot greenhouse is officially open to grow vegetation. The four acres are sheltered under diffused glass which, along with additional heat lamps, keeps the space consistently around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
This facility grows produce without chemicals to provide top quality for its customers at Giant food stores.
“We use 90 percent less land, 90 percent less water, and we expect our product with no GMO’s, no pesticides, to be grown here and then sent locally within 24 to 48 hours. We want it on the shelf for the customer,” said Tony Paar, General Manager.
He says the water is specially treated through reverse osmosis and UV light to ensure there are no contaminants on the produce. Arugula, kale, spinach, and romaine can be found planted in hundreds of rows.
“After the germination chamber, it starts way down the end which is over 300 feet away and within about 15 days average, it’s already being cut,” Paar said.
BrightFarms has other locations in Ohio, Virginia, and Illinois, but this is twice as large as their other facilities. The facility even has CO2 boilers, which pump CO2 into the greenhouse to assist the plant’s growth.
As you can imagine, the facility is quite large and can be pretty bright at night. Residents shared their images on Facebook and Eyewitness News spoke to some who lived close-by that were surprised at first by the glow in the night sky.
“When I had stepped out back and I saw the big orange and I kept looking… What is this…,” said Gary Kramer of Selinsgrove.
“When I drive from Selinsgrove to Middleburg, the building is lit up. That’s really lit up and sometimes when you look from Middleburg, down it looks like a parted cloud in the sky,” said Marlene Hall, a Snyder County resident.
As for the BrightFarms and its location within the community, “Everything that’s going to go out from here, no matter where it goes, will have the Selinsgrove name on it,” said Paar.
Paar tells Eyewitness News that the Selinsgrove location currently employs 35 people and that number will eventually go up to 50.
BrightFarms also has plans to build more greenhouses across the nation over the next few years.