May 25, 2022

Vertical farming has worked very well for a long time, occupying a very narrow share of the agricultural market. In particular, years of advances in hydroponics and greenhouse horticulture have made it possible to grow a beautiful head of lettuce and other leafy greens under LED lighting.

Now suddenly everyone wants to go to Strawberry Market. Well, not all of a sudden, not at all — much of this research has been done behind the scenes over the years, tweaking things like robotic pollination that are needed to grow crops indoors. The Bowery recently fired a big salvo, reaping the benefits of years of research in limited quantities for select retailers. and you know what? They were fine!

I have the same questions about berries as I do about any other vertical crop. For example, the price is high. A recent $15 pack of Bowery wasn’t the most expensive pack of strawberries I’ve seen (strangely enough), but to compete with the market, scalping would have brought prices down significantly.

This morning, vertical farming company OnePointOne announced an agreement with California’s lucky-named giant berry farm that Bowery will market its vertically grown strawberries. The timing of the deal has not been announced, but the offer will also be available through the Willow Farms D2C offering linked to OnePointOne.

This technology is designed to complement field growing by taking into account factors such as seasonality, which is not a problem with indoor growing. Other benefits mentioned include the ability to grow fruit over a much wider geographic area for the same reason.

Indoor farming also gives growers the ability to effectively manage various factors, including light and water, which are much more difficult to handle. So companies are looking to develop their own varieties for this process.

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