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Spain: "We chose strawberries for product differentiation"

"Given that 95% of the vertical farming market is focusing on leafy greens, we are one of the few companies that are growing fruiting crops. The reason behind fruits as our main offering is for product differentiation. This Japanese strawberry variety has never been grown before in a vertical farm in Europe," says Ajelandro Torello, Co-founder of AloAlto, a Spanish vertical farming company based outside Barcelona.

Initially, the co-founders looked into vertical farming as it would allow them to have many resource savings, especially water which is tempting in an arid country such as Spain.

"This specific variety had us traveling 3000km to Japan with ten days of visiting 50 farms and tasting more than 40 varieties for us to find the right fruit." As strawberries are holding the nr 1 spot of the dirty dozen, a list with non-organic produce ranked at their pesticide usage, made it a very interesting product for the AloAlto team to grow inside a vertical farm and without any chemicals.

In stage 0, the mother plants are growing different runners, and when they've reached a certain size, the team transplants them into larger pots where they enter stage 1. Once transplanted, root development will start and the induction phase will closely follow after that. In the induction phase, the plants are prepared for the flowering period. At this point, we have to lower the temperatures where the plant will start to create the elements that will allow the flowers to come out. After pollination, the plants will increase in size and turn into the strawberry fruit.

'We want to bring the taste and the quality of the Japanese products in Europe. From stage 0, to stage 4. At the harvesting stage we have to look at all the different strawberries every few days, and look at the most ripe ones. In this stage, we have to get experienced people to look into the fruits, when to pick them up, and when to reach exactly the perfect point of ripeness."

As for 2024, "Volume and traction are the main focus, after product market fit, we will start looking at other geographies," Alejandro confirms.

For more information:
[email protected]