Hydroponic farms tout a number of advantages over traditional farming: Since they’re operated indoors, the plants inside aren’t subject to the whims of nature. Weather isn’t a factor, nor is the seasons. Even pesticides aren’t necessary since the building walls keep any potential pests at bay. But Bowery, a recently-opened indoor hydroponic farm in New Jersey, claims it’s taken control of the elements to new technical heights – to the point where it can even tweak the flavors of the produce the company grows and sells.
Despite only opening its first facility this past February, Bowery has already attracted attention from chef Tom Colicchio, who not only serves its produce at his restaurants but also invested in the company, and has secured $7.5 million in seed funding. The excitement surrounding the brand stems in part from their focus on flavor profiles. Using a system of sensors, Bowery says it works by “meticulously monitoring the growing process and capturing a tremendous amount of data along the way.” All this information is controlled by the “BoweryOS,” a proprietary operating system that gives the company precise control over what it grows – and as a result, Bowery can even control the taste of its produce as dictated by clients.
“We can make our arugula spicier or more peppery by tweaking certain variables including the intensity of light, the amount of light, the nutrients it receives and so on,” cofounder and CEO Irving Fain told AgFunderNews.
Fain says his company’s mission goes beyond simply getting high-end chef’s more pungent herbs. He believes what’s happening in New Jersey could be a model for growing more food for more people using less water and no pesticides in other urban areas. “There’s a need for what we’re building at Bowery in cities across the country and across the world,” Fain told Modern Farmer. “We’re already at work on our next farm that’s going to be in the Tristate area and we certainly have plans to expand nationally and internationally as well.”