The maze of greenhouses, warehouses, and office spaces that is home to the Elkwood, Va.-based Blue Ridge Produce could have been custom-built for the company’s unique vision: to aggregate, process, grow, and promote local produce. But it wasn’t. In fact, the company’s founders lucked into finding an existing facility sprawled across 33 acres of land just south of the D.C. suburbs.
Blue Ridge Produce threw open the doors to its giant warehouse this growing season to welcome produce from across Virginia, only to have it quickly disseminated to wholesale buyers like Whole Foods and the University of Virginia in nearby Charlottesville.
The company also plans to lease 80,000 square feet of greenhouses to farmers who will grow tomatoes and lettuce year-round. Meanwhile, an extra warehouse will serve as a commercial kitchen for making jam, salsa, or other value-added products out of local produce. And the office spaces? Those will be a business incubator for food-oriented companies just getting off the ground.... Read more