Vertical farmer AeroFarms and Chilean berry supply chain company Hortifrut SA have entered into a multi-year R&D partnership to research and develop blueberry and caneberry production in fully-controlled indoor environments and vertical farms, the companies announced March 30.
Together, the companies will identify and optimize blueberry and caneberry plants for indoor growing; and the goal of the partnership is to advance the production of the next generation of commercial blueberries and caneberries in vertical farms.
Hortifrut’s blueberry plants will arrive this spring at AeroFarms Newark headquarters, where they have more than 100,000 square feet of vertical farming space for R&D and commercial production.
“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,” said AeroFarms CEO and co-founder David Rosenberg in a prepared statement. “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.”
New Jersey remains a major blueberry producer. It ranks fifth in blueberry production nationwide, as well as third in cranberry production and fourth in peach production.
“We are very excited to have reached this agreement with such a successful and thriving vertical farming company like AeroFarms,” said Hortifrut CEO Juan Ignacio Allende. “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.”
According to an announcement, both companies envision a long term partnership working together to formulate the commercialization of blueberries and caneberries grown in vertical farms globally.