Whenever someone visits the East Coast, they always complain about the Mexican food. Understood. In a word, missing. But for me it’s a strawberry. I’m from California, went to school in the Central Valley and haven’t done well since I moved to New York. Hell, I’ve been talking to East Coast natives who swear that strawberries are unripe fruit. Clearly the words of a man who had never eaten freshly picked fruit from a farm in Watsonville.
The Bowery’s “Urban Farmers” are working to change that. Last year when I visited a farm in Kearny, New Jersey, the company asked me to try some samples they had developed to find the perfect “recipe”. The results were good. Watsonville’s croquet ball size is not great, but good. More importantly, the location of the company’s farms means that the berries do not have to travel long distances to their destination, which is an advantage in terms of environmental impact and the final quality of the fruit.
The company announced that the first berry will be available in limited quantities as a “double pack” at select New York City retailers, including Eataly, Tom Colicchio Kraft and Jose Andres Lina, and Spanish Diner. I should mention that before we move on, despite nearly four years of behind-the-scenes experimentation, it’s still early days – hence the “limited edition” character. Think of it like a fruit drop if that helps.
The awards are something I’ve talked about in my interviews with several people from the Bowery. I strongly believe that vertical farming will at least have to compete with the prices of organic produce in order to gain a meaningful market share. Duo Pack that weighs 8 ounces. (should be half a dozen berries), costs $15. If you’re a Michelin-starred chef, this might not be a big deal compared to the $50 strawberries we reviewed not so long ago, but a quick search on Fresh Direct yields a 16-ounce pack of Driscoll’s Organic Strawberries priced at $6. 8 Get.
In limited quantities, the novelty is undoubtedly a commercial argument. Bowery doesn’t have much competition in the standing berry world right now, so it’s certainly one of the first ones to be tempted to see what it’s all about. And the Duo pack has different options for a one-of-a-kind taste test. To the right are small wild jamoons, and to the left is a large garden. I’ll just cut and paste the Bowery’s descriptions here because I haven’t tried them in their current form (obviously I’ll get the package tomorrow) and my words are true when it comes to food.
Garden Berry: Sharp and tart, Bowery Garden Berry is the quintessential summer strawberry in a powerful bite. Perfectly balanced between sour and sweet, these juicy yet firm ruby red berries pair perfectly with soft whipped cream or in a bright arugula salad with a peppery vinaigrette.
Wild Berries: Unexpected and full-bodied, Bowery Wild Berries are small and poppy, perfect for spicy cheddar, dark chocolate, or bittersweet cocktails. It is a soft, small and pungent berry with a very bright floral flavor.
As we noted, Bowery recently acquired robotics company Traptic to increase strawberry production.