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W.Va. plant to make liquid fertilizer

October 18, 2008

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A northern California hydroponics company is rehabilitating a former apple packing plant in Berkeley County to produce liquid fertilizer products, Berkeley County Development Authority Stephen L. Christian said Friday.

General Hydroponics of Sebastopol, Calif., is expected to employ more than 30 people full time at the 50,000-square-foot rehabilitated plant near Apple Harvest Drive (W.Va. 45) and Pitzers Chapel Road, Christian said.

When fully operational, the former McDonald Apple plant is expected to manufacture more than 30,000 gallons of products daily, Christian said. He said he doesn't know the salaries of the new jobs created.

"What (the company is) doing is 100 percent organic," Christian said of the fertilizer products.

Production could begin by next year, he said.

In a news release, General Hydroponics President and CEO Lawrence Brooke said Berkeley County was in a prime location for the company to serve its customer base and distributors.

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"I was very impressed with the investments being placed into the airport here," said Brooke, a pilot who has flown from California to Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport for meetings about the investment.

"That told me this community was preparing for the future. And that's the place I want to put my investment," Brooke said in the announcement.

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