ROCHELLE (WIFR) -- A massive greenhouse in the Hub City is starting to cut down and ship out tons of tomatoes to Chicago area grocers and restaurants, and soon we'll be able to get our hands on the tasty produce.
MightyVine CEO Gary Lazarski is aiming to rise above the competition and he believes that a tomato grown closer to home is a victory in its self.
"People are looking for better tasting food in general and in the midwest, we rely upon poor sources of tomatoes," said Lazarski. "We decided to establish a great source for tomatoes, hire some folks that are going to take care of them and treat them properly, and get them on the plates of the people that live in the greater Rochelle area."
This is the first day of harvest for the company. Rochelle's Economic Development Director Jason Anderson sees MightyVine as the beginning of a new era.
"This is going to put Rochelle on the map for agricultural technology," said Anderson. "Illinois of course is known for its agriculture, but now it's going to be known for its high tech agriculture and Rochelle, Illinois is going to be the center of that."
MightyVine will be shipping out an average of 40 tons every week to grocers and restaurants in the Chicagoland area. Lazarski says this will put an end to a crate full of problems.
"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.
MightyVine'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.
He adds that MightyVine plans on starting a Saturday farmer's market where people will be able to buy their tomatoes.