"We want to introduce the craft farming concept. Look at it like the craft brewing industry, which started to pop up 10 to 15 years ago in small facilities around the US. Slowly, they added some food and became a nice place to hang out and educate others on their products. That's what we want to roll out for vertical farming as well. Add more varieties, be consumer-facing, and make sure they can see and experience the product themselves. It's a good place to be in," says Rob Laing, Chief Revenue Officer at Farm.One.
Rob Laing pictured in the farm
Farm.One has been up and running again ever since March this year, and we couldn't be more happy about it! "Coming back online was a crazy time, and it finally gave us a chance to fix things we'd been waiting on for so long," said Rob in a former interview concerning the farm reboot.
New CEO Derek Pitts brought up the craft concept as he found that there is a strong parallel between the ethos of craft brewing and the mission at Farm.One - craft farming. "We both value quality, freshness, sustainability, craftsmanship, innovation, transparency, and a close connection with the community."
He continues, "Over the long-term, we aim to echo their success and influence a commoditized, far-reaching, and non-sustainable legacy food ecosystem by providing local, healthy, accessible, and sustainable urban food options. We won't be able to solve the myriad of global sustainability-related issues facing our existing food system, but we will have an indelible impact on our piece and do our part."
Pipp Horticulture installed their Grow Rack Systems for the new farm
Creating a neighborhood experience
Rob shared that they are about to add a beverage range to the kitchen space where a chef will be making teas and fizzy drinks for people to try out and purchase.
The neighborhood farm facility has an office, a farming area, a harvesting and packaging area, a tasting room for guests to pick their own herbs, flowers, or more, a kitchen, and an event space in one where various happenings are held to promote Farm. One's efforts and educate visitors on the products of vertical farming.
The Farm.One OG's who have even been there since the beginning of the Tribeca farm.
Expanding the growing surface
Within a few months' time, more growing surfaces will be added, which will result in two times more capacity than they have now as the biggest share of customers are chefs, Farm.One likes them to be involved in crop selection.
"We are growing within a growth surface of 500m2 whereas the total outcome will be 1500m2. We will add seven racks, supplied by Pipp Horticulture, with over 100 varieties to grow anything that's requested. Since we've grown over 700 varieties thus far, we can basically provide the chefs with anything. But, all is 'grown to order' to avoid oversupply," Rob shared.
Various edible and decorative flowers are grown inside the farm.
Balancing out the seasonality
As Rob explains, depending on the season, chefs like to see more flowers in the summer months. Yet, it's also a converse effect as more local farms upstate have great product availability during this period.
However, in the winter time Farm.One is the only one that is able to supply flowers and greens, for instance, as there are so many seasonalities tied to it. Then, in December, many festivities come into play where there's different demand for various products. "In general, we hope it balances out the different phases throughout the year."