Ohio Farmer

Golden Fresh, in the first of a four-phase project, plans to invest $22.5 million in the facility and employ 52 full-time workers.

June 21, 2016

4 Min Read

Paul Mastronardi and Louie Chibante, principle owners of Golden Fresh Farms in Wapakoneta, have announced a $100 million capital investment over the first four phases, potentially expanding to more than 200 acres of greenhouses with a $250 million investment throughout an eight-phase build out.


“We are very pleased and excited that Golden Fresh Farms has selected our community for this project,” says Wapakoneta Mayor Tom Stinebaugh.  The local Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council has been working on this project for nearly a year.  “Wapakoneta is known for many good things.  Now we will be home to one of the largest, most modern, fully sustainable growers of vegetables in the nation,” Stinebaugh adds.

The official groundbreaking was May 12 at 102 Progress Drive in the West Central Ohio Industrial Center North Campus.

Attracting the project to Wapakoneta involved a partnership of the city, the Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council, and its regional and state economic development partners.   "JobsOhio is thrilled to have worked on this collaborative effort with Golden Fresh Farms, the Dayton Development Coalition, the city of Wapakoneta, and the utilities,” says Dana Saucier, Managing Director for JobsOhio, “This team effort lead Golden Fresh to choose Ohio as the best location to expand its innovative agribusiness and positions the company to continue to grow.”

Phase One will start in the spring of 2016 with construction of a 20-acre (871,000 SF) greenhouse with a capital investment of $22.5 million. The greenhouse will produce locally grown vegetables throughout the winter months using high-pressure sodium lights.  Phase One will bring 52 new full-time jobs with an annual payroll of $1.9 million.

The family-owned company currently operates 100 acres (4.3 million SF) of state-of-the-art, high-tech greenhouse facilities in Kingsville, Ontario. Their operations are fully integrated from seeding, harvesting, packaging and shipping to ensure freshness and quality. 

The company started when grandfather and pioneer in the greenhouse industry Olindo Mastronardi built his first greenhouse in 1954.  “He instilled values and work ethic, which have led to our continued success and ensured a quality tasting product to our consumers for over 3 generations,” Paul Mastronardi explains.

The family business has supplied the Canadian and U.S. market for over 50 years.   At their Canadian operations, they currently employ more than 300 people in all aspects of their business.  Golden Fresh Farms is proud to reduce their carbon foot print and food miles to the consumer—providing quality tasting vegetables throughout the winter.  This new expansion in Ohio will make certain their U.S. customers receive the freshest, environmentally sustainable, and local product throughout the year.

With Ohio’s already large agriculture sector, the company sees a natural fit in the state.  “We see this project as a way to provide fresh, locally grown product for the consumer.  They will be able to buy a locally grown tomato throughout the winter produced right here in Wapakoneta, Ohio”, explains Mastronardi. 

With the completion of this state-of-the-art greenhouse operation, the company is planning to help educate the future of the industry by working with local high schools and universities. The company has already posted hiring applications via the Ohio State University’s Hire a Buckeye program.  Job opportunities will also be posted with the region’s Ohio Means Jobs Centers, on HometownOpportunity.com, and in regional newspapers.

“Golden Fresh Farms’ new state-of-the-art facility in Wapakoneta will provide a unique opportunity for agricultural workers within our state to remain in Ohio year round,” says Jeff Hoagland, President & CEO for Dayton Development Coalition. “The indoor greenhouse can extend the growing season for produce, but also allow this workforce year-round employment opportunities.”

With the complexity of their greenhouse technology, Golden Fresh Farms is able to control their growing environment, achieve sustainability for the future, integrate pest management programs to eliminate the use of pesticides, recycle water to reduce their environmental footprint, grow all Non-GMO varieties, create CO2 through waste heat, and use growing media that consists of rock wool or coir coco. 

“As a leader in North America’s greenhouse industry, we are looking to improve, innovate and sustain our growth going forward,” Mastronardi says.  “That being said, we would like to thank Wapakoneta for all the hard work, effort and dedication they have shown this project and welcoming Golden Fresh Farms to their community.”

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