(Oct. 9) FORT LUPTON, Colo. — The largest greenhouse grower in Colorado is getting larger.

Sunblest Farms LLC has added 42 acres of production to its arsenal of greenhouse-grown vegetables. This time, the company has grasped the East Coast via a marketing agreement with Greenhost Inc., King George, Va.

In addition to its own 80-acre greenhouse in Colorado, Sunblest markets vegetables from hothouseacreage in British Columbia and Arizona. With the addition of Greenhost, the company markets about 140 acres of greenhouse-grown produce, said Dave Fahrenbruch, general manager of Sunblest Farms.

The company’s volume consists of mostly traditional round beefsteak fruit and on-the-vine clusters. It also produces bell peppers and long English cucumbers.

In August, it was reported that Sunblest, which represents about 80% to 90% of Colorado greenhouse production, was shipping 40 million pounds of vegetables per year.

Fahrenbruch said about 65 million pounds of vegetables would be shipped this year with the addition of Greenhost.

East Coast production will allow Sunblest to increase its wintertime availability. Though the company markets greenhouse vegetables year-round, Fahrenbruch said it was not previously able to meet all of its customers’ demands in the winter.

Now, since Greenhost’s production is from mid-October to June, Sunblest will be able to supply sufficient winter volumes.

This is especially important, he said, because continued consolidation in the retail industry, where Sunblest does all of its business, has led to increased demand.

Sunblest’s shipments previously took two to three days to reach the East Coast, but the same locations will now be servedin anywhere from 40 minutes to eight hours, Fahrenbruch said.

“The distance from our location to the East Coast is a pretty good jaunt,” he said. “We have not focused heavily on the East Coast just for that simple fact.”
Fahrenbruch said Sunblest would continue to seek other marketing agreements, alliances and acquisitions in the future. He said company officials are planning to increase vegetable offerings in the future, and he said a new facility would possibly be constructed within a year.