You might think locally grown, fresh strawberries in winter sound too good to be true, but one indoor vertical strawberry farm owner says he has the solution. Matthew Keltie of the indoor farming company 26 Seasons said the vertical farm in Foxton, in Manawatū-Whanganui, had been selling strawberries since July.
It planned to keep selling until November this year, which meant it would be supplying the market with fresh strawberries at a time when New Zealand normally relied on imports, Keltie said. The farm was one of a few that managed to grow indoor strawberries worldwide, Keltie added.
Selling only during the off-season would mean it did not compete with local farmers during the growing season but could still help New Zealand reduce reliance on imports, Keltie said.
The 1350m² site was capable of growing a million punnets of strawberries annually. It could house up to 60,000 plants, Keltie said. Strawberries were grown in a full hydroponic system with no soils under a high-tech lighting system. Strawberry plants were fed a nutrient solution that was specific to the plants' lifecycle and changed as the plant matured, Keltie said.
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