Oishii made waves last year for its extremely expensive strawberries, reaching $50 for a box of eight to 11 berries. Based in the vertical farming bastion of Kearny, New Jersey, the company began supplying fruit to Michelin-starred restaurants (whose chefs clearly thought the product was worth the price).
They have since rolled out to select stores in Manhattan and Los Angeles and have become a sensation among social media influencers seeking influence by eating out of a $50 box of berries.
This week, the company announced the opening of a new 74,000 square foot farm in nearby Jersey, which will be dedicated entirely to growing strawberries. Along with this news, the company will be offering a more affordable alternative to first flower berries for $50 – $20 will get you a tray of eight to 11 berries, $11 will get you six, and $6 will get you three.
“We’ve worked hard to develop cutting-edge technology that opens up a much more efficient way to grow our unparalleled strawberries,” co-founder and CEO Hiroki Koga said in a statement. “Our largest farm to date combines the next frontier of indoor farming innovation with the care and precision of centuries-old Japanese farming techniques.”
It is true that vertical farming has a number of advantages, including greatly reduced water requirements, no pesticides, smaller footprints, and access to urban areas. But true scale will require prices to be on par with traditionally grown supermarket alternatives. It’s not that, of course, but it does shut down the business.
Yet despite (or perhaps because of) the price, word has spread and the company says demand is at “an all-time high.” As such, it will expand to other locations in New York and sell the berries online.