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5 things to know about Ohio’s largest greenhouse farm

A high-tech hydroponic greenhouse operation that could be North America’s largest when fully built is now growing more than 200,000 tomatoes plants in Wapakoneta.

Golden Fresh Farms, a Canadian-based division of Red Sun Farms, opened its $22.5 million, 20-acre greenhouse to the public last week about an hour north of Dayton near Interstate 75 and U.S. 33.

Here are five things you should know about Golden Fresh Farms in Wapakoneta:

1.QUICK DEVELOPMENT » Approximately 20 acres will be developed and cultivated during Phase One of the greenhouse expansion. There is a 23,500-square-foot distribution center, and more than 200,000 plants were introduced to the greenhouse in January.

2. FRESH VEGGIES » The distribution center is capable of delivering fresh produce anywhere within a 10-hour travel radius.

3. JOB CREATION» During the next 10 years, Red Sun Farms based in Kingsville, Ohio, wants to construct 200 acres of greenhouses at the site. The completed facility would create 400 jobs with an annual payroll of $15 million.

4. COMPLAINTS » Not everyone is pleased about the greenhouse operation. Some local residents have complained about the lighting used to grow the produce. The first greenhouse has more than 9,000 lights that provide “sunlight” 24/7 that can be seen from miles away at night. The facility is expected to yield 16 million pounds of tomatoes a year, the company said. Red Sun Farms is the fifth-largest grower of tomatoes in the world.

5. NATURAL PROCESS » During the growing process, the company uses 90 bee hives to help with pollination. The company wants to the entire process to be as natural as possible. No motor vehicles are used in the facility.

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