Living Greens Farm

Living Greens Farm has received a loan from the Faribault Economic Development to expand the water supply to its main building. The company is in the midst of a large expansion and expects production to triple. (Daily News file photo)

The Faribault Economic Development Authority has committed to provide a key loan to a rapidly growing hometown business and is considering a plan that could bring a growing business to downtown Faribault.

Faribault’s Living Greens Farm requested an $11,000 loan from the EDA to expand the size of the water line from the property line to within five feet of Living Greens Farm’s main building on 30th St. NW from the current 1.25 inches to 4 inches. Living Greens Farm will invest in an upgraded water meter and internal building improvements to accommodate increased water flow.

The EDA approved the request at its July 18 meeting.

In order to grow fresh greens year round, Living Green Farms uses cutting edge technology. The company’s lettuce and herbs are suspended vertically and the exposed roots sprayed with a nutrient-rich solution, in a process known as aeroponics. This process dramatically reduces the amount of land and water needed for plant growth, enables faster plant growth by increasing the amount of oxygen flow to the roots, and significantly reducing the risk of plant disease.

At its Faribault facility, Living Greens Farm grows and processes its greens, streamlining the production process but also increasing the demand for water at the facility. The facility’s lack of adequate water supply already prevents Living Greens Farm from being able to undertake necessary watering and cleaning processes in an efficient, simultaneous manner. With the company in the midst of a large expansion that it expects to more than triple its output, expansion of water supply became a clear necessity.

“The EDA is excited to continue to be part of Living Green Farms growth in Faribault,” said Faribault Community and Economic Development Director Deanne Kuennen. Kuennen said this small investment could significantly increase the ability of Living Greens Farm, already a very successful business, to make the most of its planned expansion and thrive in Faribault.

The EDA continues to consider a plan which could bring hot sauce company Cry Baby Craig’s to 313 Central Ave. in downtown Faribault. Cry Baby Craig’s was founded by Craig Kaiser, a Minnesota chef with training in French cuisine from Le Cordon Bleu. The sauce uses a unique recipe with pickled habanero peppers and garlic.

Kaiser developed the recipe in 2012 after his restaurant received habanero peppers instead of jalapenos. With no immediate use for the peppers, Kaiser decided to pickle them, and several months later put them into a hot sauce. The sauce quickly gained a following, and Kaiser soon began selling it to restaurants and consumers. Today, the sauce is sold at retail stores in 10 states and online to consumers across the country.

Cry Baby Craig’s has been working with the State Bank of Faribault to finance the move and purchase new equipment. Currently, the sauce is bottled by hand, but Kaiser and business partner Sam Bonin say the business’ growth has made necessary the acquisition of bottling equipment. The equipment could increase the company’s bottling capacity from 2,000 bottles a day to 2,000 bottles an hour.

Faribault State Bank has committed to provide $200,000 in loans, and the company is seeking $150,000 in loans from the EDA and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. After reviewing the company’s most recent loan application, the EDA undertook a loan risk analysis. Based on the results of the review and risk analysis, the EDA decided that it was necessary to request more information.

“What’s unique is that we have two very different companies that are looking to grow and expand in our community,” said Kuennen. “ (This) demonstrates how Faribault has a diverse industry base.”

Reach Reporter Andrew Deziel at 507-333-3129 or follow him on Twitter @FDNandrew.

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