Bowery calls itself "the modern farming company." And with good reason: The company has combined technological advancements with the ethos of the local and organic food movements to create a modern farming style to meet the challenges of the future while growing what it calls the "purest produce possible."
Bowery is housed in this nondescript warehouse on the shores of the Hackensack River in Kearny, New Jersey -- nearby downtown Manhattan is visible on the horizon. Inside, modern farmers are growing 100 times more food than they could on a similar size plot of land in an agrarian landscape.
I actually got to taste some of their finished products. To demonstrate their ability to control flavor, Irving handed me a few experimental greens with a wasabi-flavored kick that are currently in development and not yet available to purchase.
In later stages, plants are grown in a nutrient-rich solution that replaces the soil entirely. Each tray of greens is numbered and tracked through the course of its growth in the shelving-apparatus that makes up the bulk of the facility.
Fain explains, "There are various stresses that have an impact on the flavor profile of a crop. Using "Bowery OS" [the company's name for its customized software], we can highlight different flavor profiles by tweaking certain variables, including the intensity of light, the amount of light and the nutrients a plant receives."
In terms of the benefits, saving water is a big one. According to Fain, "Indoor growing methods save 95 percent of the water [used in] traditional farming because we use an automated irrigation system that can measure and maintain optimal levels of water to support plant growth, and we recycle the water that's left over."
The enhanced productivity comes down to several factors. "While vertical stacking contributes to increased productivity, we are also able to grow many crops twice as fast as the field, we grow many more crop cycles per year than the field, and we grow more yield per crop cycles than the field as well."
Tara gives a thumbs-up after sampling the harvest. Bowery produce is grown without any pesticides, and they refer to it as "post-organic." To unpack that, Fain explains, "The USDA's organic standards were written at a time when the technology that's available today simply didn't exist. Bowery products are grown with absolutely zero chemicals in a completely controlled environment to guarantee the freshest and purest produce imaginable."