They say these Japanese “Omakase strawberries” might be the sweetest in the world.
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When co-founder and CEO at Oishii, Hiroki Koga, moved to the U.S. from Japan, he noticed the difference in the quality of produce. To bring a taste of his culture to his new home, Koga founded Oishii. The company runs the largest indoor vertical farm in the world, growing the covetable Omakase strawberries.
Koga spoke with In The Know about innovating vertical farm technology to make Omakase strawberries accessible.
“Omakase means ‘I’ll leave it to the chef.’ The chef is going to use whatever is at its peak quality during that season,” Koga tells In The Know. “We call our berries Omakase Berries because our strawberries are always in season 365 days a year.”
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What makes Omakase strawberries different is their genetics, for starters.
“These are very special Japanese varietal strawberries that were optimized for sweetness,” he says. “Whereas, a lot of the strawberries grown outside of Japan are optimized more for yield and long-distance transportation.”
Another difference is Oishii’s forward-thinking vertical farming system, which enables the company to control the environment of its berries year-round.
“Vertical farming is a technology where you grow vegetables and fruits in a completely sunless environment. And instead of the sun, you would use LED lights,” Koga explains. “The beauty of the technology is that you can produce these fruits anywhere around the world without being impacted by outdoor weather conditions.”
Controlling the quality of the berries is key for the company, which has numerous protocols to ensure each strawberry is worth its price tag. Thus, it’s no surprise that the best chefs in the culinary world are fans. But at the end of the day, what it’s going to come down to is taste.
“Our berries are known to have an exceptional aroma,” Koga says. “In most cases, we have two to three times more sweetness in our berries compared to what you’re used to eating.”
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