For Immediate Release: Jan. 12, 2016
The Bristol Bay Development Fund (BBDF), a subsidiary of Bristol Bay Native Corporation, is pleased to announce its fourth investment in a Bristol Bay-based business, Belleque Family Farm (BFF) in Dillingham. BFF is owned by BBNC shareholder Johanna Belleque of Dillingham, Alaska, and her husband Kyle.
Belleque Family Farm is an agricultural business planning to use a 40-foot shipping container to grow fresh produce hydroponically. The system will be assembled by Vertical Harvest Hydroponics in Anchorage, Alaska, and shipped to Dillingham for set-up. The container is capable of producing about 450 pieces of produce per week year-round. The business will provide fresh produce for local restaurants, commercial kitchens, fishing lodges and grocery stores.
Vegetables in Alaska and Bristol Bay are typically shipped from California or Mexico. Because of the distance, produce is harvested before the plant’s maturity so that it can last long enough to make it to grocery store shelves. Typically, it takes over two weeks for produce to reach stores, and much of it is spoiled at that point. Belleque’s container gardening system will cut delivery to just hours, and supply a higher-quality, fresher product.
Kyle and Johanna Belleque have pursued growing food crops in Dillingham for the past three years. While they have been able to successfully grow crops such as potatoes, broccoli, peas, brussel sprouts and cabbage, the farm can only grow during the short summer months. This system will allow them to consistently supply produce to their customers 365 days a year.
The Bristol Bay Development Fund launched in October 2014 and exists to be a catalyst for business growth and startups in the Bristol Bay region. The fund has a goal to invest $5 million within four years in businesses that participate in fisheries, transportation, agriculture, health and wellness, and energy. To date the fund has committed $675,000 for investment. The Bristol Bay Development Fund is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bristol Bay Native Corporation. Learn more about the fund at www.bbdf.net.