MADISON — Backyard Farms is not only growing tomatoes but growing its operations as well.

The tomato producer has plans to construct a research and development building on its River Road property to be used to test new tomato varieties and growing techniques, spokeswoman Melissa Doyle said Monday.

The likely expansion, anticipated to be complete by the end of the year, means the company will hire several more people, adding to the workforce of about 200.

In total, the development will encompass 33,550 square feet, or about three-quarters of an acre. The greenhouse portion of the research building will total 15,200 square feet, and there will be an attached 4,800-square-foot office building, according to a legal notice filed Monday.

Plans also include construction of a driveway off River Road and a parking and loading area.

Having more space on site to grow different tomato varieties and test various growing methods “will help us continue to provide the top quality tomatoes that we do,” Doyle said.

“Certainly the town’s enthused about the anticipated expansion,” Town Manager Dana Berry said. “It’s an excellent indication that they are successful.”

The tomatoes grown in the research building wouldn’t be sold to the public, Doyle said, but the testing done there might lead to a type of tomato that could be grown in the much larger greenhouses and then distributed to stores across New England.

The site now has two greenhouses. One spans 24 acres and the other, 18 acres. Within each building are offices, and attached to them are pack-house facilities.

Backyard Farms does not release information about how many pounds of tomatoes it grows per year, Doyle said, but the company sells everything it grows.

The company is seeking a permit for the project and soon will file an application with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

A copy of the application also will be filed for public inspection at the Madison Town Office.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]


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