US (MA): Little Leaf Farms keeps growing and growing

Little Leaf Farms is disrupting the lettuce industry and giving people in New England a high-quality product that is cut and delivered within 24 hours.

The business completed an expansion last month that doubled the size of its hydroponic greenhouses, going from 2.5 acres of totally controlled indoor automated, hands-free systems, free of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, grown year-round, to 5 acres of greenhouse space.

The state-of-the-art operation at Little Leaf Farms, which opened in 2015, is on 12 acres in Devens and Shirley. The company specializes in local, fresh lettuces and salad greens, and is home to one of the most modern, technologically-advanced greenhouses in the world, with technology ranging from UV lights that disinfect water used to water plants, to soil-less trays that replace traditional soil.

The greenhouse technology at Little Leaf was developed in the Netherlands and the growing system in Finland, according to Paul C. Sellew, owner and CEO, who said Little Leaf just bought another 12 acres a few weeks ago, and plans to double its greenhouse capacity again next year. Little Leaf also hired a third grower.

“It is really a consumer-led expansion,” Mr. Sellew said. “People are buying and loving our product, and we were not supplying market level to meet demands.”

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