SOMERSET, Ky. — Bringing further momentum to the state’s agritech sector, Bosch Berries, an international grower and distributor of bell peppers, blackberries and strawberries, will locate a new greenhouse operation in Somerset, investing nearly $50 million and creating 28 full-time Kentucky jobs.
Netherlands-based Bosch Berries has acquired the previously established AppHarvest facility in Somerset to locate the company’s first greenhouse operation in the United States. The existing greenhouse infrastructure will allow the company to enhance the growing environment to maximize production capacity, implement new technologies to optimize growing efficiencies, reduce waste and gain access to the U.S. market.
The greenhouse, which has been operational since November 2022, is over 30 acres and capable of growing approximately 1 million strawberry plants at a time. This strategic initiative by Bosch Berries aligns with the company’s continued commitment to sustainable agriculture and economic growth and will serve as a steppingstone for future Bosch Berries’ greenhouse operations in the United States.
“The growth within Kentucky’s agritech industry has played a key role in the state’s continued economic momentum and prosperity,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “Bosch Berries’ plan to locate its first location in the United States right here in the commonwealth speaks volumes about what our state has to offer. This is an incredible investment for southcentral Kentucky and the Pulaski County community, and I look forward to a long, successful partnership.”
“We are thrilled with the acquisition of the Somerset facility and to become a part of the Somerset community,” said Tijmen and Wouter van den Bosch, co-directors of Bosch Berries. “With some technical changes we have planned for this summer and introducing the best practices we have built through 90 years of greenhouse experience; we will make it one of the most successful greenhouses of its kind. We want to thank all employees and partners who share our belief in better berries, which are tasty, fresh, clean, sustainable and always available. Somerset deserves better berries; Kentucky deserves better berries, and the United States deserves better berries. Be on the lookout in your local grocery store for hydroponically grown strawberries.”
Bosch Berries is a sixth-generation Dutch family farm operation founded in 1854 that specializes in growing and distributing bell peppers, blackberries and strawberries. The company has been involved with greenhouse cultivation since the 1930s and in 2017, ventured into greenhouse berry production, focusing on the production of delicious, year-round blackberries. Today, the company operates two greenhouses and looks forward to entering the U.S. market and growing the North American berry industry.
Pulaski County Judge-Executive Marshall Todd is excited to see a company like Bosch Berries locate in the community: “When life hands you berries, you make the best of the situation. And in the case of Bosch Berries, Pulaski County welcomes them and is very appreciative of their willingness to acquire the property formerly known as AppHarvest. We hope that they will prosper in their new home and grow not only locally sourced products, but also community relationships we can cultivate for generations to come.”
Somerset Mayor Alan Keck expressed his excitement for Bosch Berries bringing their operation to Pulaski County: “Our community is excited and appreciative of Bosch Berries for their commitment to the Somerset facility. I firmly believe they will execute on the promise that fresh produce will be grown using state-of-the-art technology for decades to come.”
Chris Girdler, president and CEO of the Somerset-Pulaski County Economic Development Authority, looks forward to the company’s future success in the community: “We, as a community, are very excited about the Bosch Berries acquisition of the Somerset facility. They bring to bear many decades of farming experience, and we are grateful for their investment in the Capital of Lake Cumberland. It has been a privilege to work with Tijmen and Wouter van den Bosch, and the future is very bright for everyone involved.”
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in October 2023 preliminarily approved an incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, Bosch Berries can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
The Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority is a city-county partnership that serves as an umbrella for workforce development, tourism, entrepreneurship and industrial recruitment with the goal of elevating the function and visibility of economic development in the community.