In March 2015 Innovatus, one of the world’s largest completely closed-environment vertical farms, began operating the Fuji Farm using LED lighting. The factory grows five varieties of lettuces, mainly frilled lettuce, green leaf and romaine, and has advanced, automatically-controlled equipment that monitors everything from air temperature, humidity, and CO2 concentration to nutrient liquid.
“The Philips LED modules allow us to create consistent quality locally, using only a fraction of the water and electricity compared to open field lettuce or fluorescent lighting,” says cultivation management group team leader Shinichi Kitamura. Innovatus coordinates LED exposure time with shipping times so that even lettuce picked in the afternoon has the same quality as lettuce picked in the morning. Innovatus can also get lettuce into Tokyo supermarkets just two hours after shipment and consumers have praised the lettuce for being both extremely fresh and flavorful without the inconsistencies of lettuce cultivated outdoors.
To produce even more of this fast-selling lettuce, construction plans for a new factory are already underway.