Article Image

IPFS News Link • Agriculture

A Fruit So Sweet, Yet Grown Indoors:

•, By Andy Corbley

A pair of talented agri-scientists have developed a strain of exquisitely-tasty, melt-in-your-mouth strawberries that are putting a foodie spotlight on the capabilities of vertical hydroponic farming.

Hiroki Koga and Brendan Somerville are the masterminds behind the Oishii fruit company, whose flagship "Omakase" berries have become all the rage among foodies and New York City chefs.

The Omakase berries, which hail from Japan, are grown hydroponically, meaning they are cultivated in soil-less tubes of mist and liquid fertilizer in controlled, indoor environments.

Strawberries are one of the crops that take to large-scale hydroponic farming quite well, and since the red fruit is the most pesticide-ridden crop at the supermarket, being able to grow them at scale in controlled environments could be a huge benefit to ecosystems.

However producing these beautiful succulent berries, which can fetch $50 for a tray of 8, required a bone-rattling amount of work that involved getting the export/import licenses for Somerville and Koga to tote their ideal Japanese strawberry cultivars all the way from the Land of the Rising Sun to New Jersey, where they rented a warehouse for their vertical farm.