More than one hundred attendees, among which Mighty Vine’s management, employees, partners, builders, local authorities and buyers of fresh produce, witnessed the official opening ceremony. Also present were Edward Verbakel from General Contractor VB and Mighty Vine partner Frank van Kleef from Royal Pride Holland.
In his speech Edward Verbakel took the opportunity to thank his project partners Havecon, PB Techniek, Priva, Gavita and Vepritec for their efforts to complete this greenhouse project within 4 months from sand to plant. At the same time he complimented founder Jim Murphy on his vision to meet the increasing demand for daily fresh tomatoes in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan. Also on his ability to build a strong team of talented people, each with their own specialism, to do get the job done and emphasized this being one of the key success factors for this project.
Frank van Kleef had the honor to cut the ‘vine-ribbon’ at the entry of the greenhouse, with which he officially opened the greenhouse. A local TV Station WIFR summarized all of this in the following overview of the event: http://www.wifr.com/home/headlines/MightyVine-Takes-Agriculture-High-Tech-331834551.html
Stephan van de Wall, Deputy Consul General – Head Economic Development of the Dutch Consulate in Chicago was very impressed with the application of Dutch Greenhouse Technology in one of the 14 States that he represents. ‘This project is a perfect example of how Dutch Technology is providing sustainable solutions for a world with a growing need for healthy and safe food. There are many new opportunities in front of us to implement on many other locations.’
Gary Lazarski, CEO van Mighty Vine Tomatoes, emphasized the need for fresh local grown tomatoes during the winter months in the Greater Chicago area. "People are excited to know where their food comes from, to put a farmer's face with that and to know that in this era of globalization, you can still do good by putting money in your neighbor's pocket by buying locally," Lazarski said. Mighty Vine's production only accounts for about three percent of the consumption in Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison so Lazarski says there's plenty of room to grow. Lazarski says they hope to start conversations with Stateline grocery stores soon, but at the moment their products will only be available with Chicago grocers like Whole Foods.