Berry Gardens is joining forces with vertical farming giant Jones Food Company to trial the vertical production of strawberries. The pilot will be run at Jones Food Company’s new R&D facility in Bristol, and if successful, it would extend Berry Gardens’ British strawberry season to 12 months.
Despite recent breakthroughs, the British berry season generally runs from March to November, but Berry Gardens said customers have expressed a significant interest in stocking vertically-grown strawberries, with the first crop likely in the winter of 2023.
Jones Food Company is currently building one of the world’s largest vertical farms, on a site near Lydney in Gloucestershire. The company will look into growing Berry Gardens’ premium strawberry varieties hydroponically, meaning the berries will grow in water, without soil, with plants layered on top of each other in a series of tiers.
Berry Gardens CEO Nick Allen said: “Ensuring quality supply for our customers and allowing consumers to have delicious, fresh, healthy, British strawberries on shelves year round are key priorities for us. The environmental impact is obviously really attractive too. Like most of the industry, we are actively looking for ways we can become more sustainable across our business and when technology offers realistic solutions, it is incumbent on us to pursue them with energy.
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