A Texas chain of supermarkets isn’t just in the business of selling vegetables; it’s growing them, too. Based in Dallas, the H-E-B-owned Central Market has joined forces with Controlled Environment Agriculture Advisors, a self-described “horticulture disrupting” firm, to raise some of its produce in a custom-built onsite shipping container—a first for an American food retailer.
The 53-foot-long “Growtainer” features 480 square feet of climate-controlled and food-compliant vertical space designed to achieve a higher yield in a shorter time than conventional methods, according to GreenTech Agro, the system’s manufacturer.
“We spent over a year discussing [Central Market’s] concerns and objectives, and when I was sure we were all on the same page, we began the design and manufacturing process,” said Glenn Behrman, founder of GreenTech Agro and CEA Advisors, in a statement.
The miniature farm comes with a modular, self-contained series of LED-lit aluminum “GrowRacks” that supports any number of cultivation levels.
It also offers an intelligent water-monitoring system, as well a zoned irrigation system that meets the needs of different varieties of produce at different stages of growth.
The Growtainer is part of Central Market’s efforts to “produce the freshest, unique, gourmet leafy greens and herbs for Central Market customers at the retail level,” the supermarket said. The hyper-local vegetables are marketed under the label “Store-Grown Produce.”
“CEA Advisors is proud to be working with the Produce Team at Central Market, all committed to innovation and focused on food safety, unique products, and the customer experience,” Behrman added.