Two companies team up to grow tomatoes commercially in Pikeville

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - In February, AppHarvest announced plans to build a greenhouse in Pikeville to grow tomatoes. It will be located at the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park.

At Friday's SOAR Summit, leaders with the organization announced a partnership to distribute their produce, bringing high tech agriculture to Eastern Kentucky.

"Our first greenhouse announced is going to be 1.2 to 1.8 million square feet," said Jonathan Webb, the founder and CEO of AppHarvest.

Friday morning, leaders with AppHarvest announced they will be partnering with Sunset Produce to distribute the fruits of their labor.

"Our first greenhouse will produce somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 million pounds of tomatoes," said Webb.

They say the greenhouse is state of the art, using one tenth of the water and land in the area.

"Instead of using pesticides, we would use something different called IPM, which is integrated pest management, so we're going to use good bugs instead of the bad vegetarian bugs in the greenhouse," said Paul Mastronardi, the president and CEO of Sunset Produce.

Officials with both companies think Pikeville is an excellent location for the greenhouse.

They say the tomatoes will be sold in local stores.

Leaders say their goal is to begin production next fall.

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