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Oishii opens its 22,000m2 solar-powered farm in New Jersey

Oishii opened its latest strawberry farm, spanning more than 237,500 square feet (22,000m2) in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. Oishii's Amatelas Farm, named after the Japanese Goddess of the Sun, uses renewable energy.

"At Oishii, we run towards problems once thought to be impossible to solve. In just two years, we've developed technological breakthroughs now in use at Amatelas Farm that make our growing process significantly more efficient, yet just as delicious," said Hiroki Koga, CEO and Co-Founder of Oishii. "Our desire to maintain this exponential rate of innovation is driven by a deeply human need: we see vertical farming as a critical part of the solution to our failing agriculture system. Our new farm represents a huge step forward in our mission to grow food that's better for people and the planet."

Amatelas Farm features individual farm units, each home to 250 moving racks of Oishii's Koyo strawberries. Every rack is stacked with eight growing levels (up from five in Oishii's second-generation farms) that move from the warmth of the day to the coolness of night on a 24-hour cycle. Oishii's moving architecture automates the growing process and enables bees, robots, and farmers to work together to grow more berries in the same footprint.

With the space to grow more than 20 times the number of berries from its previous facility, the farm's unique location near the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania also unlocks new expansion opportunities for Oishii. Situated within a day's drive to a third of the U.S. population, the company will enter new markets along the East Coast and expand its relationship with retail partners like Whole Foods Market and FreshDirect.

Amatelas Farm harvests are grown primarily with solar power – sourced from the 50-acre solar field next door. Built-in a repurposed plastics manufacturing plant, the farm is also outfitted with next-generation LED lights that use 14% less energy per plant. The facility's multi-million-dollar water purification system has eight times more capacity than the older Oishii farms, allowing it to recycle the majority of the water it uses today.

Nearly 50 state-of-the-art robots work around the clock at Amatelas Farm to ensure berries are picked at the peak of ripeness and optimize operations over time. The company's proprietary robots capture over 60 billion data points annually, which are used to monitor and adjust the environmental variables of each farm unit. By pairing machine vision with machine learning, Oishii's farms get incrementally more efficient, improving important metrics like pollination success and harvest predictability to deliver great-tasting fruit.

Amatelas Farm also enables Oishii to scale the impact of the brand. The company has already made more than 100 hires in the Lehigh Valley region, creating new jobs for engineers, farm operators, and facility managers, among others.

Future prospects
While several farm units remain under construction, Amatelas Farm will now serve as the primary production facility for Oishii's Koyo strawberries. Mugen Farm – a 72,000 square foot farm in Jersey City – will continue growing coveted Omakase berries and add more space to grow the jewel-like Rubī Tomato, unveiled late last year. Oishii will also continue to operate a farm in Kearny, where most of its plants are propagated.

Oishii's plant scientists are hard at work perfecting its latest fruit and vegetable offerings. The company will begin to trial new types of berries with retailers in the weeks to come, with plans to unveil a new strawberry varietal later this year.

For more information:
[email protected]