Hires Operations-Veteran Josh Ballard to be the New Plant Manager of its Danville, Virginia Indoor Vertical Farming Operations to Drive Continued Expansion

Newark, NJ, Aug. 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AeroFarms®, a Certified B Corporation and leader for indoor vertical farming, announces expanded availability of its market-leading microgreens at retail with S. Katzman Produce - the over 100 year old leading wholesaler/distributor of produce based in NYC and H Mart – the number one Asian supermarket chain in the United States. 

“AeroFarms is recognized everywhere for its unique varieties and prized flavor, and we are excited to partner with fellow leading companies known for their innovation and produce expertise like S. Katzman Produce and H Mart,” said Guy Blanchard, President & CFO of AeroFarms. “As we expand our commercial production to profitably meet customer demand, we are investing in key team members like our new Plant Manager in Danville Virginia, Josh Ballard, in order to service more of our customers across the country.”

Produced year-round at the highest quality, AeroFarms microgreens offer great visual and flavor excitement to elevate every dish, making everything taste better. In addition, AeroFarms microgreens provide higher nutrient density than their mature green counterparts, offering a powerful way to provide a potent boost of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  

“We are always looking for new products that will help our customers grow,” said Stefanie Katzman, Executive Vice President at S. Katzman Produce. “We see a lot of potential with the microgreens category and are impressed by the ingenuity that AeroFarms has demonstrated through its growing process, marketing approach and flavorful, high-quality product. By launching with AeroFarms, we plan to get consumers even more excited about microgreens and help our retail customers grow their produce departments.”

Winning on flavor, AeroFarms is the fastest growing packaged salad greens brand by revenue at retail in the United States according to Nielsen syndicated data, with over 200% year-on-year revenue change versus 41% for the CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) space, 8% for Organic, and only 4% for Conventional packaged salads.*

Helping drive important overall category growth, frequency of market visits, and market basket size, AeroFarms differentiated microgreens can be found now at approximately 2,000 locations throughout the United States including major retailers nationwide like Whole Foods MarketAmazon Fresh, and The Fresh Market, and continued regional expansion through Ahold DelhaizeHarris TeeterH-E-B, and Walmart.    

To support this retail growth and microgreens category expansion, AeroFarms hired Josh Ballard to be the new Plant Manager for its state-of-the-art commercial indoor vertical farm in Danville, Virginia. With a Black Belt in Advance Six Sigma and expertise in Lean Manufacturing, Josh has over 30 years of operating experience and a successful track record of exceptional leadership and management in the food and equipment manufacturing space, commercial food manufacturing operations with companies like Conagra Brands, and direct farming experience with AppHarvest, where he oversaw all of their operations for 4 commercial high-tech greenhouses. Josh also has a history of taking companies from start-up to scale-up, including notable brands such as Impossible Foods and Miyoko's Creamery.

AeroFarms microgreens are safely grown indoors in state-of-the art commercial indoor vertical farming operations that are certified for USDA Good Agricultural Practices, SQF Level 2 Good Manufacturing Practices, Non-GMO Project Verification, OU Kosher, and the industry-leading CEA Food Safety Seal that was developed to differentiate indoor clean growing practices from traditional challenges in the field. AeroFarms microgreens are completely pesticide free and are ready to eat without any need to wash, providing a major benefit to customers looking for safety and convenience.   

About AeroFarms

Since 2004, AeroFarms has been leading the way for indoor vertical farming and championing transformational innovation for agriculture. On a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corporation with global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. Named by Fast Company multiple years as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, World Changing Ideas, and Brands that Matter, AeroFarms has also been uniquely recognized by TIME for their Best Inventions in Food and by Fortune for their inaugural Change the World list. Through its world-class team of plant scientists, engineers, operators, and produce experts, AeroFarms has developed its prized produce through its patented, award-winning indoor vertical farming technology that provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive, taking agriculture to a new level of precision, food safety, and productivity while using up to 95% less water and no pesticides ever versus traditional field farming. AeroFarms enables all-year round production to safely grow nutrient-dense, tasty produce, using vertical farming for elevated flavor.™  

*Source - NielsenIQ Retail Measurement Total US x AOC Latest 52 Wks - wke 07/15/23 for key companies with at least $5 million in annual sales. CEA = Bowery, BrightFarms, Gotham Greens, Little Leaf Farms, Local Bounti / Pete's Living, Revol Farms, 80 Acres Farms; Organic = Earthbound Farms, Organic Girl; Conventional = Dole, Fresh Express, Taylor Farms.


Josh Ballard, AeroFarms Plant Manager

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