Vertical farming opens doors to fruit growing

07-04-2021    10:17   |    Growing Produce

Move over leafy greens and herbs. When it comes to vertical farming, fruit, quite literally, is no longer on the outside looking in.

AeroFarms, a sustainable indoor agriculture company based in Newark, NJ, and Hortifrut, a Chilean producer of fresh berries, have partnered to jointly research and develop blueberry and caneberry production in fully controlled indoor environments and vertical farms.

The partnership will identify and optimize blueberry and caneberry plants for indoor growing, allowing both companies to further expand their knowledge in sustainable farming. The goal of the partnership is to advance the production of the next generation of commercial blueberries and caneberries in vertical farms.

The first phase of the partnership is already underway, with blueberry plants arriving this spring at AeroFarms global headquarters in Newark, where they have more than 100,000 square feet of vertical farming space for R&D and commercial production.

Hortifrut, through its state-of-the-art genetic program, breeds compact blueberry plants ideal for vertical farming.

“We are very excited to have reached this agreement with such a successful and thriving vertical farming company like AeroFarms,” Juan Ignacio Allende, Hortifrut’s CEO, said. “Now we will put the efforts and know-how of both teams to work side by side, allowing us to succeed in growing blueberries and caneberries under this new technology. Responsible farming, high quality fruit and a commitment to customer service are in our DNA. We believe this is only the beginning of a successful partnership focused on growing, supplying and marketing the best berries, every day all over the world.”

Meanwhile, AeroFarms has optimized its grow systems for berry production.

“We are thrilled to announce our blueberry partnership with Hortifrut,” David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AeroFarms, said. “As we started sharing our mission and values with Hortifrut, we found deep alignment between our corporate goals and agricultural technologies. Hortifrut’s legacy of plant breeding and global blueberry production is unsurpassed in the industry, and we are excited to work together with the industry leader in delivering berries to the world every day. We look forward to bringing our mastery of controlled environment growing to commercial blueberry production. New Jersey has a rich history in blueberries dating back to 1910 when blueberries were domesticated for the very first time. Now AeroFarms and Hortifrut will be pioneering the next chapter for blueberries by domesticating them again in New Jersey – this time in a fully controlled environment.”

The companies are focused on delivering the most flavorful, nutritious, fresh blueberries to consumers at anytime, anywhere in the world. The agreement considers the experimental site setup, planting of Hortifrut varieties, feasibility, data analysis and potential further expansion.

Photo: AeroFarms and Hortifrut have partnered to grow berries at their new vertical farming site.

Source and Photo Courtesy of Growing Produce

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