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NEW YORK, March 3 — Tiny little flowers, herbs and micro greens…all grown…in the jungle of Manhattan. This is the vertical plant factory of Farm.One where LED lights, water and nutrients power up the ingredients for a culinary delicacy.

“So in this small room, which is just, 1,200 square feet in this farm, we can grow crops that might take a whole big field to grow,” Farm.One’s CEO and founder Robert Laing said.

Robert Laing, a former software developer, started Farm.One in 2016 after tasting a papalo leaf at a Santa Monica farmer’s market which inspired him to embark on a challenge to bring fresh herbs and edible flowers to New York City’s finest restaurants.

“We can harvest and deliver same day. And so the product isn’t sitting on a truck, it’s not in cold storage, it’s super fresh.

And so these chefs can really taste the difference. And it’s exciting for them to taste something that’s almost like in their back garden of their restaurant.”

Robert Laing started Farm.One in 2016 to bring fresh herbs and edible flowers to New York City’s finest restaurants. — Screen capture via Reuters videoRobert Laing started Farm.One in 2016 to bring fresh herbs and edible flowers to New York City’s finest restaurants. — Screen capture via Reuters videoNo pesticides, chemicals or soil used in traditional farming will touch these treasures. The company uses materials like coconut husks to prop up the plants and ladybugs and tiny parasitic wasps to keep pests away.

So how does a LED, hydroponic flower taste? Eunji Lee is the pastry chef at two-star Michelin restaurant Jungsik.

“if it’s too big, the marigold flower’s flavour can be stronger, too much strong, so that’s why it should be this size…they bring to us the perfect one that we want.”

Other restaurants seeking that perfection, have helped boost Farm.One’s business.

Laing has quickly opened a second vertical farm in Manhattan and hopes to grow his business into other cities in the US and eventually around the world. — Reuters

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