04 Jun 2022

Oishii raises $50 M for a 7 hectares vertical farm for strawberries

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Vertical farming company Oishii continues its mission to make its famous strawberry variety 'Omakase Berry' available to more consumers with the opening of its largest and most technologically advanced vertical farm, describing it as 'the largest vertical strawberry farm in the world'.

In a statement, Oishii said that the new company, located in New Jersey, covers an area of 74,000 square metres and will exclusively grow the company's own strawberries.

The Japanese cultivar Omakase Berry was first introduced in 2018 and is considered the most sophisticated crop to grow because of its long growing cycles. It is already grown year-round in Oishii's three indoor vertical farms.

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Japanese Omakase Berry strawberries

In New Jersey, the company converted a former Anheuser-Busch factory into the farm of the future and the new company headquarters.

Every crop on the new farm relies on advanced robotics and automation, as well as a 60 per cent reduction in energy and 40 per cent reduction in water compared to the first generation technology.

Hiroki Koga, CEO and co-founder of Oishi, said: 'We are committed to revolutionising the future of food by offering the tastiest produce, grown in a way that we believe is better for people and better for the planet.

"We have worked hard to experiment with advanced technology that allows us to achieve a substantially more efficient way of growing our unrivalled strawberries. Our largest farm combines the next frontier of indoor agricultural innovation with the care and precision of centuries-old Japanese growing techniques," he added.

The move comes ahead of the brand's debut in the upcoming Whole Foods Market shop, which will open this summer in New York's NoMad district.

"We look forward to more people enjoying an endless strawberry season with Omakase Berry at its new price and in its new home," said Koga.

Similarly, Chris Manca, Local Forager for the Northeast region of Whole Foods Market, said: "We look forward to our customers taking home the delicious flavour of the beloved Oishii fruit. He added: "Eating an Omakase Berry is a complete sensory experience.

Starting today, Oishii's Omakase Berries will cost $20 for trays of 11 medium or eight large berries, $11 for trays of six medium berries, and $6 for trays of three medium berries. The special edition First Flower Berry will remain at $50 for a six-berry tray.

This new farm marks a bright future for Oishii and comes on the heels of momentous growth for the company. In 2021, the company closed a $50 million funding round and made its West Coast debut with the opening of the Los Angeles farm.

By introducing this cutting-edge innovation to its already revolutionary cultivation methods, Oishii is able to pass on significant value to its many customers from one side of the coast to the other. In addition, the company is currently developing its techniques on new varieties of strawberries, as well as other types of flowering and bunch fruits.

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