UK leader BerryWorld has partnered with Dutch smart farm specialist Smartkas to produce Eve’s Delight strawberries in the UK’s largest vertical farm. The facility contains over 27,000 square metres of growing space and 12 layers, the same height as a four-storey building.
BerryWorld’s partnership with Smartkas – a Dutch agtech business that designs, builds, owns and operates smart farms – is aimed at ensuring consistent year-round supply of British strawberries. The facility will be used exclusively for growing Eve’s Delight strawberries, a variety from the Edward Vinson breeding programme.
Over the last 12 months, BerryWorld varieties have been trialled at the Smartkas R&D site in the Netherlands to ensure consistent quality can be achieved in Essex. In addition, the vertical farm in Harlow uses renewable energy sources and is only a short distance from retailers’ distribution centres, meaning a lower carbon footprint.
“Increasing consumer demand for locally grown strawberries means producing in the UK year round has never been more important,” said Dr David Meszaros, CEO and founder of Smartkas.
Mark Kirby, chief commercial officer at Smartkas, said: “Our partnership with BerryWorld marks a turning point in the UK’s food supply chain and the way the country looks to secure locally grown year-round produce. Our Harlow farm uses artificial intelligence to control all aspects of the growing cycle including light, water and CO2 to maximise the plants’ growing potential.”