That day at Google’s cafeteria, I tasted something different. True and vibrant flavors, textures like I’m used to in field-raised greens and fruits, unusual varieties I’d only expect from really savvy growers.
By Adele Peters
May 18, 2017
The company plans to build its farms next to large cities, but not directly inside, to best fit in existing supply chains that have distribution centers on city limits. “If you want to be delivering a large amount of super-amazing tasting produce to a large grocery store in the middle of a city, you want to be in the distribution center that feeds that grocery store,” Barnard says. “Because otherwise, it’s going to go back out of the city to the distribution center and then back to the store. And now you’ve cost [yourself] hours and maybe even a day or two. The promise that we’re making to customers is that it’s literally days faster.”
The taste is noticeably different. Rick Bayless, the Frontera chef, tried the produce at Google, where the founders started testing their core technology in a demonstration farm in 2014 (that farm is still supplying greens to Google’s cafeteria, though Plenty is not running it). “When I visited Plenty’s pilot farm, I was skeptical,” he says. “I’d had produce before that was grown under lights. And it always disappointed: weak in flavor and texture, like a shadow of the original. But that day at Google, I tasted something different. True and vibrant flavors, textures like I’m used to in field-raised greens and fruits, unusual varieties I’d only expect from really savvy growers. I knew these guys were onto something.”