Lakeville Specialty Produce Company: A Brief History

Lakeville Specialty Produce Company was founded as AgrowNautics, Inc. in 1976, and has been producing and distributing specialty salad greens to high-end restaurants and retail outlets for nearly 50 years. It is the longest continuously operating commercial hydroponic grower in the country, distributing its distinctive line of specialty produce to customers from New York and Miami to San Francisco and Los Angeles and many of the larget cities in between.

Originally conceived as an East Coast response to the Arab Oil Embargo of 1974 and its anticipated impact on the cost of trucking fresh produce across the country from California, Lakeville’s first production facility was located in northwest Connecticut, growing butterhead lettuce and spinach for nearby New England customers. A larger facility followed in eastern New York, allowing wider distribution through the Hunts Point market and other outlets. Production was eventually centralized in east-central Pennsylvania to take advantage of low-cost waste heat from a coal-fired Pennsylvania Power & Light generating station and convenient highway acccess to Hunts Point and and the New York metropolitan airports, from which Lakeville has been shipping its products both regionally and nationwide since the mid-1980s.

Lakeville uses its own proprietary technology and patented hydroponic growing systems to produce a wide variety of specialty salad greens, including both stand-bys like Mache, Red Veined Sorrel, and Upland Cress, and less common items like Mizuna, Firecracker Mizuna, Chervil, and Red Tatsoi, all of which are available 365 days of the year and consistently of high quality. New products are constantly being tested, and are introduced to the Lakeville product line when customer interest and product quality justify their addition.