U.S. Startup Run by Japanese Entrepreneur Opens World’s Largest Strawberry Factory Near New York

Courtesy of Oishii Farm
Robots harvest strawberries at the new Oishii Farm factory.

NEW YORK — Oishii Farm, a U.S. startup run by a Japanese entrepreneur, announced this week that the company began operating the world’s largest strawberry plant factory near New York.

The factory grows Japanese varieties of strawberries that will be sold mainly on the East Coast of the United States.

The factory in New Jersey occupies 22,000 square meters. Artificial intelligence controls the temperature, humidity, the amount of light and other elements so that they replicate the environment in Japan. Robots harvest the fruits when they are perfectly ripe.

The factory has a completely sealed environment so no harmful insects or germs can enter. It is said that the factory can produce strawberries throughout the year without pesticides. The company is planning to recycle most of the water needed for growing the fruits and use electricity from renewable power sources.

Oishii Farm was founded in 2016 and started production in 2017. In February this year, the company announced that it received investment of about ¥20 billion from NTT Corp., Mizuho Bank and other investors, and put most of the funds into construction of the new factory.

A pack of about 10 strawberries sells for $10 to $12 (¥1,600 to ¥1,900). The price is more than three times higher than strawberries generally sold in the United States, but Oishii Farm’s strawberries are becoming very popular for their sweetness and fragrant scent, hence the company has decided to expand production.

“I’d like to share the appeal of high-quality Japanese fruit with the world,” said Hiroki Koga, 37, the company’s chief executive officer.