Toshiba—the same company that makes your laptops, tablets and TVs—now wants to make your lettuce. That might sound like the start of some sci-fi dystopian future, but the Japanese company isn’t necessarily looking to improve on lettuce itself—rather, how it’s grown.
According to Quartz, about a year ago, Toshiba began work on a lettuce “clean room” housed in an old factory where they used to make floppy disks in the 1980s and ’90s. This factory farming system is labeled “clean” because “everything is tightly controlled, including air pressure, temperature, lighting, bacteria, and dust.” Workers even wear full hazmat-style suits so nothing gets contaminated.
The benefit of running such a tight ship is that the crop can be grown without pesticides because the facility doesn’t have any bugs. As a result, these lettuces don’t even need to be washed. Not that rinsing greens is the most difficult part of cooking, but there’s something appealing about knowing your lettuce came out of the ground good to go.
The facility is just now seeing its first yields, with products beginning commercial sales in Japan next week. Early reports said the lettuce tasted like, you know, lettuce.
But eventually, Toshiba hopes to produce 3 million heads of lettuce a year in this location alone. They also hope to sell the technology in places like Russia and the Middle East, where outdoor farming can be difficult.
The future may be frightening, but at least it’s not dirty. Plus, we don’t have to deal with those stupid floppy disks anymore.