Feb 23, 2023Vertical farming operator Oishii introduces new indoor strawberry
Vertical farming operator Oishii has introduced its newest strawberry varietal. The Koyo berry is touted as “bursting with sweetness” and an indoor grown strawberry that offers “exceptional flavor unlike any other,” according to a news release.
Touting itself as the first vertical farming company to perfect the strawberry at commercial scale, the Jersey City, New Jersey-based Oishii grows indoor strawberries by “harmoniously marrying nature, technology, and farming techniques perfected for decades in Japan to grow its prized fruit, which is pollinated naturally with bees,” according to the release.
Each harvest in the new farm relies on advanced robotics combined with traditional Japanese farming methods. The farming practices consume 60% less energy and 40% less water than first generation farms, according to the release.
The berries are grown in Oishii’s three state-of-the-art indoor vertical farms: two outside of Manhattan, New York, and one in Culver City, California, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Oishii recently opened its flagship Mugen Farm, a 74,000 square foot facility that introduced pioneering technology to make Oishii’s precision growing process even more efficient, according to the release.
In Japanese, Koyo means “elated.” The Japanese cultivar is traditionally grown outside Tokyo during the winter months. The nutrient-rich strawberries are noted for their sweetness, balanced acidity, fragrant aroma and slightly firm texture, according to the release.
The Koyo joins the Omakase variety as Oishii’s second strawberry, bringing a new flavor profile to the table, according to the release. “Evoking sweet summer memories, the Koyo Berry is always picked at the peak of ripeness to excite even the most discerning fruit-lover,” Oishii officials said in the release.
Koyo berries are non-GMO, free of pesticides, ripe and always in-season, according to the release.
“When we founded Oishii, we made a promise to set a new standard for how we enjoy produce,” Hiroki Koga, Oishii’s CEO and co-founder, said in the release. “The Omakase berry was an important first step in that journey, and today, we are so proud to introduce the Koyo berry, which builds on our brand’s legacy for delivering clean, fresh strawberries that are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before.”
In 2018, Oishii introduced its first strawberry, the Omakase, which caught the attention of Michelin-starred chefs, taste influencers and consumers for its sweetness, aroma and creamy texture. Designed to market from $6 to $20, depending on tray size, the Omakase sells at Whole Foods Markets and other grocery stores.
“Every bite of the Koyo berry immediately transports me to a warm summer day, even though it’s the middle of winter in New York,” Brendan Somerville, Oishii’s COO and and co-founder, said in the release. “I can’t wait for our customers to try these berries.”
Beginning on Feb. 13, the Koyo will be sold through the FreshDirect delivery service in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut for a suggested prices of $15 a tray. It will expand to other markets, including Los Angeles, later in the year, according to the release.
“Known for our valued vendor partnerships and quality fresh food, we’re excited to offer these delicious Koyo berries exclusively to our customers – whether they prefer the balanced brightness of the Koyo berry or the delicate sweetness of the Omakase berry,” Mary Mitchell, a FreshDirect category merchant for produce, said in the release. “Each bite of the Koyo berry delivers a refreshing zing and sweet finish which elevates the timeless strawberry flavor.”
New types of flowering produce are also in development, according to the release. Oishii, which is “delicious” in Japanese, began vertically farming in 2016.