Bellingham stevia producer plans crop expansion

Sweet Green Fields, a Bellingham-based global producer of stevia extracts, plans to significantly expand its stevia crop in the southeastern U.S., according to a recent company announcement.

Based on the crop’s performance during the 2012 growing season, along with the support Sweet Green Fields has received following its introduction to the region, the company will expand its grower base and working with its partners to significantly bolster its supply of American-grown, high-purity stevia extracts.

This year, Sweet Green Fields worked with grower partners in Georgia and North Carolina to produce the first commercial stevia crops in that region.

Stevia, a leafy green plant related to the sunflower, has seen increased popularity in recent years as an alternative food and beverage sweetener.

“We are extremely pleased with the performance of our 2012 crop and we are very excited about the aggressive growth plan we have in place for 2013,” said Hal Teegarden, vice president of agricultural operations for Sweet Green Fields, in a press release. “The response of our varieties to the environment, the regional expertise and technology to produce crops in a sustainable model and the support we have received from our agribusiness partners in the region, all back our plan to significantly bolster our supply of American-grown stevia.”

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