Basil thrives in sunny, warm climates, and therefore, it can be difficult to grow in Northern Europe. Future Crops, a Dutch-Israeli vertical farm company, has managed to produce a vertically-grown basil variety with high yields and longer shelf life to meet the high demands for the herb in Europe.
The proprietary basil seeds were developed through natural breeding (without genetic modifications or editing) at the Israeli Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) by Nativ Dudai, PhD, professor, and head of The Unit of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. Dudai said, “Most of the basil varieties today have been developed to grow in the outdoors in open fields as well as greenhouses. Our goal was breeding varieties that would best fit the novel vertical farming paradigm.”
Future Crops developed ideal climate conditions for the basil in its 2,000m2 (~21,000 square foot) solar-powered, vertical farm. Even in the cold Dutch winters and cool springs, the basil can thrive year-round. Within the indoor farm, all conditions, including light, temperature, wind, and humidity, are fully controlled.
If you’ve ever purchased fresh basil from the grocery store, you know how quickly it wilts and starts to turn black. The basil that Future Crops has successfully cultivated has shown to have a shelf life of two weeks when stored in optimal conditions.
Basil, other herbs, and leafy greens are some of the most commonly grown crops in indoor vertical farming. However, we are starting to see a diversification of crops in this space. For example, Aero Farms grew hydroponic hops for Goose Island (a brewery), while hydroponic strawberries are increasing in popularity.
Future Crops has finalized negotiations with the ARO Institute to purchase exclusive licensing rights to the basil seeds for commercialization worldwide.