Sweet Green Fields, a Bellingham-based stevia extract producer, announced the expansion of its stevia crop production to the southeast United States, with crop plantings in Georgia and North Carolina.
“We are investing heavily in our American grown crops and linking our advanced agriculture practices with our industry leading plant research in order to create stevia products that are competitive on a global level, while being grown right in our own backyard,” Hal Teegarden, the company’s vice president of agricultural operations, said in an April 26 press release. “We believe we have one of the most extensive stevia research portfolios, and through our scientific innovations in plant breeding, growing and harvesting, as well as extraction processes, we achieve consistently high yields of sweetener product per plant while maintaining industry leading quality standards.”
The commercial stevia crops are the first of their kind to be planted in Georgia and North Carolina.
The expansion is supported by both the Georgia Department of Agriculture and North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“Agriculture is Georgia’s number one industry, and we are always excited about the prospect of new and alternative crop opportunities in our state,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said. “With the ideal soil and climate conditions in Georgia, Sweet Green Fields has seen the potential for stevia to prosper as a new crop in the rotational system. We welcome their expansion here and look forward to working with them throughout the seasons to come.”
In Georgia, the company is currently in the process of transplanting this year’s crop, and in North Carolina, Sweet Green Fields’ stevia crops are slated to be planted within weeks.
“The entry of stevia crops into North Carolina represents an opportunity to expand agribusiness in our state and help advance local economic growth,” North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said. “The stevia industry is still relatively young, but we are excited to be at the forefront of this industry and we look forward to working with Sweet Green Fields as the crop expands in North Carolina.”
Sweet Green Fields, known in the alternative sweetener industry for its plant research and agriculture practices, has stevia crops in the state of California, as well as globally.
The company is online at www.sweetgreenfields.com.