27 Mar 2022

Vertical take-off for Driscoll's and California Berry Giant

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year after announcing their joint research and development project to grow strawberries indoors, Driscoll's, the leading consumer brand in quality fresh berries, and Plenty Unlimited Inc. are taking off their relationship to build a new vertical indoor farm dedicated exclusively to strawberries.

Having exceeded the targets set for the initial stages of the partnership, the two companies are accelerating their efforts to grow Driscoll's berries using Plenty as their sole vertical production platform.

PLENTY, THE NEW FACILITY IN WYOMING

This new facility, designed to serve consumers in the northeastern United States, will provide fresh, uniform, high-flavour strawberries closer to berry-loving consumers living in highly dense urban regions. This strategy will provide the opportunity for rapid category growth to a mature market that has proven to appreciate a high-flavour product offering.

"The Northeast is the largest berry consuming region in the United States, with a dense population of berry-loving consumers," said Arama Kukutai, CEO of Plenty. "Our partnership with Driscoll's, along with Plenty's optimized technology platform, ensures we can consistently grow premium berries closer to where these consumers live, providing fresh, consistent quality.

Plenty - Driscoll's
Plenty Driscoll's
Plenty - Driscoll's
The Plenty plant in Laramie, Wyoming

We have successfully leveraged the experience of the world's largest strawberry breeding programme within Plenty's controlled growing environment, maximising the flavour of each berry and optimising both texture and size. We are thrilled to bring our first indoor vertical farm dedicated to strawberries to life with the undisputed leader."

STRAWBERRIES, ONLY THE BEST

Driscoll's, which has 100 years of farming experience and focuses on supplying Only the Finest Berries™, has proven to be an ideal partner for Plenty, an industry leader in indoor growing technology. Together, the two companies are able to grow high quality berries closer to where the consumer lives.

"Over the past year, Plenty has demonstrated its technology leadership in vertical indoor farming by growing our own strawberries to meet the stringent flavor and quality required of a Driscoll's berry," said J. Miles Reiter, president and CEO of Driscoll's. "We are excited to see the initial success of our partnership and look forward to expanding our relationship with a new farm that will drive category growth in the northeastern part of the United States."

Plenty

Plenty uses Driscoll's proprietary genetics and berry expertise along with its own advanced indoor growing technology and plant science expertise to grow Driscoll's berries. Leveraging the massive amounts of growing data generated by its platform, Plenty uses data analytics, machine learning and custom lighting to consistently deliver yields 150-350 times higher per hectare than in the field.

As part of the partnership, Driscoll's strawberries were initially grown at the Plenty facility in Laramie, Wyoming, the largest indoor plant science research facility of its kind.


Meanwhile, OnePointOne and California Giant Berry Farms have also announced their strategic partnership to bring the highest quality vertically grown strawberries to market. California Giant has made an equity investment in OnePointOne and President Joe Barsi has joined the OnePointOne board of directors.

The partnership was formed to develop OnePointOne's Opollo™ Three technology, optimised to grow the best quality berries at scale for the consumer. The farms will then be sold to customers around the world looking to bring unique, high quality berries to their local market year round. This model allows more farms to have access to vertically grown strawberries.

Silicon Valley-based OnePointOne has developed the most advanced automated indoor vertical growing technology, which offers superior yields and product quality, while also allowing crops to be grown closer to the end consumer. The vertical farms are currently located in California and Arizona with the goal of expanding them across the country to improve the availability and accessibility of fresh berries. In addition, Opollo™ Two farms - optimised for leafy greens - are currently on sale in the US.

"Strawberries are the next frontier in vertical farming," said Sam Bertram, CEO and co-founder of OnePointOne. "OnePointOne's farms are perfectly suited to growing high quality berries that will allow consumers around the world to enjoy consistent, tasty strawberries all year round."

Both OnePointOne and California Giant Berry Farm share the primary goal of having berries when and where their customers need them, and having locally grown berries in various markets across the United States as a supplement to field-grown production.

As this partnership grows, they will focus on developing an exclusive strawberry cultivar, where OnePointOne will optimise California Giant's expertise and data to grow the berries in its automated, aeroponic, vertical-wall indoor farm.

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Diagram of a vertical OnePointOne system

In addition to the hands-on partnership between the two companies, California Giant also placed an equity investment in OnePointOne's Series A financing round. "Our strategic partnership with OnePointOne is a step toward achieving our vision of sustainability," Barsi said. "OnePointOne's patented automated system from seed to harvest, combined with plant analytics and artificial intelligence, differentiates them significantly. We look forward to farming for the future with this alternative cultivation model."

These premium berries will also be offered through Willo's Farms, which currently offers the same custom growing experience for leafy greens. Willo's Farms grows berries on demand and sends them directly to your door on a weekly basis with full control of the process through Willo's mobile app.

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Willo's Farm plant

Companies that want to invest in their OnePointOne strawberry farm can do so for an investment of $2 million, which includes:

  • Ownership of an Opollo™ Three farm, allowing a year-round supply of high quality berries
  • Information on the supply chain and viewing of exclusive commercial data
  • Setting up the farm in the chosen geographical region
  • two-year return on capital

"Strawberries are an icon. The feeling they evoke can be powerful. We're excited to bring that feeling to as many people as possible," added Bertram. "We also think this is the perfect time to bring the opportunity for other farms to expand into the burgeoning vertical farming sector."

Source: Business Wire and Prnewsire-Photo: Plenty, OnePointOne, Willo

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