We all have a story to tell when it comes to strawberries. Some of us remember this delicious experience from picking and eating them directly in the garden. To others, they are the perfect wedding cake or the epitome of tennis season (there’s no game in Wimbledon without a bowl of strawberries and cream). But forget strawberry season, from now on its tasty strawberry summer all year round! The successful global vertical farming pioneer &ever has joined forces with Modula S.p.A, one of the leading global manufacturers of automated vertical storage and warehousing systems. Together they have successfully engineered a fully automated farming system for high-value fruity crops, among them strawberries. The first 4 SuperTowers will be installed in Singapore by March 2022.
“We stay true to our conviction that we need to bring the consumer into the driver seat again. Consumers want the best-tasting fruits, not the ones that are easiest to handle during transport and within the cold chain. Taste always wins! That’s why we believe in the future of hyper-local farming as this allows for harvest on-demand – same-day delivery and selecting varieties in line with what we believe consumers have been waiting for far too long. Far better quality instead of tasteless plate fillers.” says Mark Korzilius, founder and creator of opportunities at &ever.
Whereas leafy greens grow in a highly predictable and uniform way, farming and harvesting crops like strawberries and almost any other fruit crop is a labour-intensive process. The overall development from the flowering stage to crop maturity needs to be constantly monitored. In addition, harvesting usually takes place over a period of up to 5 weeks and is dependent on local weather conditions.
The jointly developed “SuperTower” is a state-of-the-art technology solution that makes it possible to overcome constraints of seasons, time, distance, and climate. This fully automated, robust yet sophisticated, vertical farming solution from &ever is designed to be installed within city boundaries, close to the consumers. It allows manufacturers to focus on locally grown and very tasty varieties of fruity crops that normally would be rejected by retailers. There are plenty of so-called heirloom varieties, tasting great when harvested. When placed in clamshells, stacked in cartons, and shipped at 2°C over long distances have deteriorated both in terms of taste and appearance. Retail rejects these varieties as consumers would not buy them.
&ever’s solution of harvesting on demand for these types of crops will allow consumers such as Hotels, Restaurants, Caterers, and even individuals to place orders for what they need. The fruit crops will then be harvested by this fully automated tower and delivered fresh to the customer. The hyper-local SuperTower with 20 layers and 2200+ crops per unit allows for 6 harvesting cycles a year.
&ever and Modula have entered a strategic partnership, combining &ever’s extensive knowledge of optimal climate control farms – from the seeding to harvesting, carbon dioxide levels, temperature and airflow and Modula’s leading expertise in manufacturing automated vertical storage solutions, designed to optimize space and improve picking and storage operations in any industrial sector or environment.
“We are really excited to team up with &ever to develop vertical farming solutions to better serve a larger range of clients, including the growing segment of the food and grocery retail industry” said Max Gigli, Market Operations Director & CEO Modula S.p.A “In Modula we are always looking for new technologies to innovate and expand our portfolio of products. This strategic partnership certainly brings added value for both Modula and &ever” he added.