Minnesota grower reaps benefits after romaine lettuce scare

As of this week, the E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce "appears to be over" according to the CDC.

While the outbreak had an impact on lettuce growers across the country, a local grower is reaping some major benefits. In fact, their business is now growing as a result.

“Since that happened, we've had more orders than we can handle. We can't even fill them all, so it's been quite a change in our business,” said Jay Johnson, President of Revol Greens based in Medford, Minnesota.

Revol’s facility is much different from the California farms at the source of the outbreak. Unlike outdoor farms, Revol’s greens grow in an enclosed greenhouse, so E. coli and other contaminants cannot get in.

After regulators allowed romaine back in the market, Revol’s business exploded.

“For sure it was a result of the recall. I think people are starting to pay attention to where their lettuce is grown and who grows it,” Johnson said.

The 2018 E. coli outbreak sickened more than 60 people in the U.S. and more than 20 in Canada.

The warnings worried consumers and growers who were concerned people would avoid romaine lettuce for a long time.

For Revol, however, the impact was just the opposite. Orders from both restaurants and retail keep going up.

“When you can't fill them all you really don't know exactly how many there are but I'd say it's close to double,” Johnson said.

Business has grown so much that the company recently announced plans to double the size of their greenhouse this summer, just to keep up with demand.

The expansion in Medford will also create new jobs for Revol employees and delivery personnel.