Berry leader Driscoll’s and Plenty Unlimited have announced that they are expanding their relationship to build a new indoor vertical farm dedicated exclusively to strawberries.
The move comes one year after the two companies announced a joint research and development project to grow strawberries indoors.
After 'exceeding the goals' set forward for the initial stages of the partnership, the two companies are accelerating efforts to grow Driscoll’s proprietary berries using Plenty’s vertical growing platform.
This new farm, to serve consumers in the northeast US, will provide 'fresh, consistent, high-flavour strawberries' closer to berry-loving consumers who live in highly dense urban regions.
According to the two groups, this strategy will provide the fastest category growth to a mature market that has demonstrated appreciation for a high-flavour product offering.
“The Northeast is the largest berry consumption region in the US, with a dense population of berry-loving consumers,” said Arama Kukutai, CEO at Plenty. “Our partnership with Driscoll’s, coupled with Plenty’s optimised technology platform, ensures we can consistently grow premium berries closer to where these consumers live, providing fresh, consistent quality.
'We’ve successfully leveraged the expertise of the world’s largest strawberry breeding programme within Plenty’s own controlled growing environment, maximising the flavour of each berry and optimising for both texture and size,' Kukutai noted. 'We’re excited to bring our first indoor vertical farm dedicated to strawberries to life with the undisputed leader in the space.”
Plenty utilises Driscoll’s proprietary genetics and berry expertise alongside its own advanced, indoor farming technology and plant science expertise to grow Driscoll’s berries.
Leveraging the massive amounts of growing data generated by its platform, Plenty uses proprietary data analytics, machine learning and customised lighting to deliver yields 150-350 times greater per acre than the field.
As part of the partnership, Driscoll’s strawberries were initially grown in Plenty’s Laramie, Wyoming farm, the largest indoor plant science research facility of its kind.
“Over the last year Plenty has demonstrated its technological leadership in indoor vertical farming by growing our proprietary strawberries to meet the rigorous flavour and quality required of a Driscoll’s berry,” said J Miles Reiter, Driscoll’s chairman and CEO. “We are excited to see the initial success of our collaboration and look forward to expanding our relationship with a new farm that will drive category growth to the Northeastern part of the US.”