Officials of a Canadian firm had two days of on-site tours and visits with local government and development leaders this week, initiating possibilities that Utah County could be the home of 20 acres of high-tech greenhouses in which fruits and vegetables are grown in less than a week.

Officials of the firm, 372224 Alberta Limited, were in Utah County until Tuesday afternoon, scrutinizing Utah Valley as a possible site for a high-tech greenhouse project that could result in as many as 500 jobs.Richard Bradford, executive vice president of the Utah Valley Economic Development Association, accompanied the visiting officials to the undisclosed sites. Neither he nor any of the Alberta Limited officials were available for comment Monday.

Utah is one of several states still competing for Alberta Limited's expansion, with UVEDA having worked on wooing the firm for more than half a year.

Alberta Limited utilizes a technology known as "biophotic production." Using computers to

monitor a high-humidity, temperature-controlled environment, the facilities can produce about 30 different fruits and vegetables, including tropical fruit, cattle feed, shellfish and possibly tobacco.

For example, vegetables such as harvest-ready cucumbers require only six days to grow from blossom.