British strawberries go vertical for bigger yields!

A new vertical farming technology promises to support strawberries supplies in British supermarkets for up to nine months a year

The Big Zero report

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Vertical farming of strawberries could help Brits enjoy strawberries not only in the summer but during winter’s longest, chilliest days.

West Sussex fruit grower Direct Produce Supplies Ltd (DPS) will be supplying Tesco strawberries grown in a way that reduces carbon dioxide emissions and makes them available for up to nine months!

The company claims its new production system of vertically-grown strawberries requires 50% less water and leads to a 90% reduction in carbon footprint per kilo of fruit.

They also note yields from vertically-grown crops are significantly higher than by using conventional production methods – it is estimated that yields are five times more fruit per square metre than existing methods.

DPS has been trialling the technology for the last three years at their farm near Arundel, West Sussex.

A predicted yield of nearly 1,000,000 kilograms of strawberries will soon hit the supermarket’s shelves this summer.

Tesco Fruit Technical Manager Sabina Wyant said: “Vertical crop production is a giant step for fresh produce growers in helping reduce their carbon footprint and use less water, at the same time boosting their yields.

“For shoppers, there is also a clear benefit, with consistent quality fruit and availability for up to nine months of the year, regardless of the weather conditions.”

DPS Chief Executive Officer Paul Beynon said: “Vertical farming offers growers a protected environment that requires significantly less land, water and energy to produce excellent quality crops.”

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