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Green Future: City of Temple home to 'world's largest lettuce greenhouse'

Posted at 10:12 AM, Sep 01, 2023

TEMPLE, Texas — It started with pictures and an email to 25 News asking about those strange pink/purple lights spotted in Temple.

Turns out, there’s a mass production of leafy greens growing in our own backyard.

Sitting on about 20 acres of land in south Temple, Revol Greens CEO Michael Wainscott coins this lettuce greenhouse as "the largest in the world."

“We grow everything from arugula to green leaf, red leaf,” Wainscott said. “It’s so close to a lot of the distribution centers for all the large grocery stores in this region."

He has built greenhouses in other parts of the country like California, Georgia, and Minnesota. So, he's got growing lettuce down to a science.

And one of the benefits of building here in Central Texas is water conservation.

“We capture our water, we then sanitize it, clean it, and really the water that leaves the facility is inside the leaves of these plants,” Wainscott said. “It’s a massive difference on how we are able to manage water. We also don't have to put out pesticides and that is super helpful to be able to keep chemical run off out of the water systems and everything.”

Field harvesting usually happens outdoors in triple digit heat, but that's not quite the case inside the greenhouse.

“We are comfortably cooler, there are fans behind me, there is humidity control, so this is a much better environment for our plants as well as our people,” said Kathy Flores, chief of staff at Revol Greens.

Inside the greenhouse — Flores says only a dozen harvesters are needed during one shift.

“Six on the harvest side and six on the seed and transfer side,” Flores said. “We harvest and we seed everyday, but we still do it with about 12 folks."

Besides beating the heat and conserving more water.

What do agriculture experts think of greenhouses like these?

"Urban agriculture is becoming more popular and it may become a necessity in the future,” said Joe Masabni with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

As for those mysterious lights: The lights that you see as you drive past our greenhouse at night are for the lettuce here that's growing,” Flores said.