Expansion means packaged-lettuce grower Revol Greens can quadruple output
Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
A southern Minnesota greenhouse dedicated to producing leafy greens for restaurants and grocery stores is now the largest of its kind in the country.
Medford-based Revol Greens is just weeks from completing an expansion that will allow it to quadruple production to more than 4 million pounds of hydroponic baby greens per year. The company is using the added capacity to expand its current product lines of salad-ready prepackaged greens, and it’s preparing to announce new products in the coming months.
Revol Greens is in the final stages of expanding its greenhouse to 10 acres, a process that began with a 2019 deal to sell and lease back its original 2.5-acre facility. The deal with Equilibrium Capital Group, a global asset management firm with a focus on sustainability, laid the groundwork for the expansion.
In early June, Revol Greens entered a distribution agreement with Walmart that put its packaged greens on the shelves of 65 to 70 additional stores around the Upper Midwest. In addition to Minnesota, its products are now available in stores in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and the Chicago area, said CEO Mark Schulze .
Its packaged baby arugula, spring mix and other greens were already available in a number of Twin Cities grocery stores, including Cub Foods, Kowalski’s Markets and Lunds & Byerlys. Revol is up to 11 different products, with more in the pipeline to satisfy customers seeking different taste and nutritional profiles, Schulze said.
“We listened to the people in the metro area, in Minnesota, and we determined that not only were they interested in more products, they wanted a greater variety of products,” Schulze said.
Retail sales in recent months have been particularly strong for Revol — strong enough to make up for a significant decline in restaurant sales during the pandemic. Restaurants made up about 30% to 35% of the company’s business before the threat of Covid-19 prompted the state in March to order dining rooms temporarily closed.
“We ended up picking up all that volume at the retail level,” Schulze said.
He said Revol Greens now has a workforce of between 50 and 60 employees in Medford, having added about 10 to 15 employees since work began on the expansion. And the company isn’t done growing.
Schulze said Revol Greens is planning an even larger California greenhouse. That 16-acre facility is expected to come online early next year, and a third location could follow, he said.