AeroFarms and Hortifrut S.A., a Chilean berry producer and distributer, announced a multi-year partnership to jointly research and develop blueberry and cane berry production in fully-controlled indoor environments and vertical farms.
Together, this R&D 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, New Jersey U.S.A. where they have over 100,000 square feet of vertical farming space for R&D and commercial production. Hortifrut, through its genetic program, has bred compact blueberry plants ideal for vertical farming and AeroFarms has optimized its grow systems for berry production. Both companies envision a long-term partnership working together to formulate the commercialization of blueberries and caneberries grown in vertical farms globally. The teams are focused on delivering the most flavorful, nutritious, fresh blueberries to consumers at any time, anywhere in the world. The agreement considers the experimental site setup, planting of Hortifrut varieties, feasibility, data analysis and potential further expansion.
“We are thrilled to announce our blueberry partnership with Hortifrut,” said David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AeroFarms. “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.”
“We are very excited to have reached this agreement with such a successful and thriving vertical farming company like AeroFarms,” commented Juan Ignacio Allende, Hortifrut’s CEO. “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.”