Sustainable AquaFarms (SAF), a subsidiary of SAFE Holdings LLC is strategically positioning its greenhouse facility and land with the view of creating a monetizing event of SAF in the near term.
SAF currently produces hemp for cannabinoid (CBD) cultivation and multiple little gem, bib lettuces and leafy greens varieties specifically selected for hardiness and unique taste in a controlled environment, under strict bio-security protocols. Their facilities include germination rooms, nursery, packing and printing line, and dry and cold storage warehousing. SAF is licensed by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to grow hemp for products containing CBD as well as hemp/CBD research. They also hold a nursery license to grow transplants and their facility is USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) compliant certified, we plan to conduct our Safe Quality Foods (SQF) Audit this summer, and our staff is GMP trained.
SAFE Holdings acquired a 3.25-acre greenhouse facility that was a former rose cultivation site in Berlin, New York, approximately 20 miles east of Albany, the state’s capital. SAF’s facility utilizes high-tech deep-water culture hydroponic greenhouses – 124,000 square feet of covered growing ponds. SAF is currently producing industrial hemp for CBD, little gem lettuces, and leafy green produce. The operational staff represent four generations of growers and are cultivating hemp year-round. As the facility is USDA GAP certified, all growing and cultivating protocols are adhered to for both hemp and lettuce production. At present, the facility can produce nearly 1,000 pounds of premium dry flower monthly and have the capacity to cultivate three-plus million seedlings at any one time. Additionally, the facility is able to cultivate secondary flower/trim biomass for CBD oil production, fresh frozen hemp and top flower colas.
SAF can easily adapt to changes in hemp, cannabis and agricultural laws. When the facility was originally purchased, the growing ponds produced high-quality, heirloom grade lettuce and other leafy green vegetables. In the fall of 2016, SAF was planting 12,000 heads per day (full head lettuce). The facility has the capacity to harvest 14,700 heads per day (3.8 million heads per year). Arrogated sales from produce rose from $80,000 in 2017 to over $800,000 in 2019 resulting in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 185%.
Production of hemp commenced in August 2018, with the first harvest in November 2018. The initial cultivation started with three varietals and now has five varietals. Based on current cultivation of photoperiod sensitive plants and harvest results, the SAF facility produced nearly 10,000 pounds of hemp annually.
Located in Rensselaer County, Berlin, NY which is about 20 miles east of Albany in the Taconic Mountain Range, NY’s state route 22 passes directly through the facility allowing easy access for rapid local distribution.
The current management team and operational staff pride themselves as they have a passion for ecosystems – they have gone to great lengths to create a team of workers, consultants, suppliers and distributors to execute their sustainable vision. The hemp plants as well as produce are provided with fresh nutritional food of known progeny as they are vertically integrated from feed to retail distribution, thus controlling both inputs and processes. Importantly the water at the headwaters of the Little Hoosic River in the Taconic Mountains are naturally of the highest purity.
With sustainable practices, controlled environment agriculture, and integrated pest management (IPM) techniques, the facility allows year-round cultivation without extensive use of pesticides and antibiotics, unlike field grown crops which are exposed to a multitude of contaminants and disease vectors. Preservative use is minimal to non-existent given quick delivery times and the quality of the raw material. Together with its location on SR 22 in upstate NY, SAF can deliver to over 100 million customers within 24 hours by road.
The management team is committed to employing local workers and providing educational opportunity for North East regional institutions. Year-round, quality employment is rare in this blighted rural area. The site’s energy resources are available to the wider Berlin community for disaster and emergency response, improving the robustness of the whole Berlin valley.