Newark’s Ironbound is recognized as one of New Jersey’s top dining and food destinations. It is also home to AeroFarms, the world’s largest indoor vertical farm, currently under construction on Rome Street.
While the facility is being completed in time for a grand opening scheduled for later this year, AeroFarms, the company behind this revolutionary new way to grow delicious, nutrient-dense leafy greens and herbs without sunlight, rain or soil, has set up another commercial farm at 400 Ferry Street, the former home of a paintball facility that is less than half a mile away from Rome Street, bringing together one overall 100,000 square feet farming operation.
Recently, AeroFarms joined forces with the Ironbound Business Improvement District (IBID) to host a tour and tasting of several different leafy greens harvested at peak flavor grown with no pesticides and up to 95% less water than traditional farming.
“The Ironbound is a food-centric community, and having “Newark Fresh” produce available to local residents as well as the hundreds of restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, markets and other food-related businesses in our district is a perfect match,” said Seth A. Grossman, the IBID’s Executive Director. “Newark’s business sector now includes a significant and growing number of food-related companies and we are proud that many, like AeroFarms, call the Ironbound home.”
In his welcome to local business owners and IBID board members, Marc Oshima, AeroFarm’s Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder, noted that the company’s mission is to combat our global food crisis through technology and has been building and operating indoor, vertical farms since 2004. “Our passion is great tasting food and sharing our harvest with the world,” Oshima stated. “There has never been a greater need for safe, dependable and nutritious food; that’s why we are committed to growing locally and sustainably on a global scale.”
AeroFarms has made a commitment to the local communities where their facilities are located, and Newark is no exception. The company is bringing new life to old buildings in the Ironbound, creating local, year-round jobs and partnering with schools to bring students hands-on farming experiences that foster greater connections to food.
AeroFarms grows over 250 different specialty leafy greens and herbs. At the recent event, guests sampled peppery arugula, spicy ruby streaks, bright watercress and tangy tango.
Octavia Marinho, who manages Teixeira’s Bakery on Kossuth Street, was impressed by the explosive taste of the greens sampled plain and in a salad prepared by Chef Reggie of Mompou Tapas Wine Bar & Lounge for the event. Marinho must stick to a gluten-free diet for health reasons, and is always looking for better tasting alternatives to the wan flavors of most lettuce and spinach. She is even thinking of ways to incorporate the AeroFarms greens into new lunchtime salad combinations at Teixeira’s.
Currently, AeroFarms greens including Baby Kale, Baby Arugula, Baby Mizuna, Baby Watercress and Spring Mix can be purchased at ShopRite of Newark on Springfield Avenue and at ShopRite of Brookdale in Bloomfield.