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Deardorff Family Farms LEEDing the way

Deardorff Family Farms announced that it is nearing completion on a new LEED-certified facility that will serve as its headquarters. The facility will include 115,000 square feet of cooling, processing, packing and office space. The scheduled completion date is the first quarter of 2012.

“This project is just one more example of our family’s four-generation-long commitment to sustainability,” Tom Deardorff II, president of Deardorff Family Farms, said in a press release.

Deardorff Family Farms started in 1937 and has evolved into a premier grower, packer, shipper and marketer of fresh fruits and vegetables. For the past four generations, the company has been owned and operated by the Deardorffs, who have become known for their numerous leading-edge efforts in sustainability, including the first-of-its-kind recyclable celery box; one of the first California growers to be certified by SAFE; and one of the early firms to have a fully integrated organic produce division.

“This is the largest and most substantial project in our company’s long history,” Scott Deardorff, secretary and co-owner of Deardorff Family Farms, added in the press release.

LEED certification is a major environmental achievement. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies that improve energy and water efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions, improve indoor environmental quality and promote stewardship of resources and the surrounding environment.

Deardorff Family Farms was able to achieve LEED certification by incorporating an in-fill project site rather than converting fertile farm ground; a bioswale to naturally reduce pollution; light-colored materials and hardscapes to reduce heat islands; recycled content building materials; state-of-the-art water- and energy-efficient fixtures, landscaping and equipment; and engineered building components to reduce overall materials and emissions.

The facility also has a strong focus on food safety and security. The entire facility was built with wash-down surfaces, high-tech security devises, integrated floor drain systems and a vertical docking system.