At NatureFresh™, innovation and farming go hand in hand.
Our team is constantly on the hunt for new technologies, products, and ways of thinking to make our farm more efficient and sustainable.
Finding new innovations can take a lot of time and effort, but when you finally discover something that has a positive impact on your business, or people, or product, it’s worth the hard work. But we’re not just in it for the result – we believe in learning from our experiences!
In today’s world, the term ‘innovation’ can refer to many things. In this case, we’re going to dive a little deeper into the innovations we’ve adopted when it comes to new products, growing technologies, how we interact with consumers, and advancements in packaging.
The 4 P’s of Innovation
The Discovery Center – Tomberry® Tomatoes
Product innovation is an integral part of the NatureFresh™ Farms identity. Our Research and Development team is constantly working with various seed companies to trial unique products and perfect our growing methods.
To formalize our trialing, NatureFresh™ established the Discovery Center, a 2.5-acre trial greenhouse and research center – this is the space where new product innovations are born!
The Discovery Center brings together agricultural science, product development, and consumer feedback to create a dynamic program where groundbreaking products can be discovered, perfected, and eventually brought to market. One of the most recent “graduates” from the Discovery Center program is the Tomberry® Tomato.
Hailed as the World’s Smallest Tomato, the Tomberry® measures approximately 0.5 to 1 centimeter in diameter and weighs only 1 to 2 grams. It may be petit, but the Tomberry®is still packed full of juicy flavor, as well as all the nutritional value that you expect from your Tomatoes!
For more information about this Tomato’s journey through the Discovery Center trial program, check out the Tomberry® Product Spotlight.
Many other varieties have made their debut in the marketplace after being grown in the Discovery Center greenhouse, and as our company continues to grow, this space will endure as one of the main innovation hubs for new products at NatureFresh™!
PRIVA & Climate Control
There are many innovative growing methods and technologies that we use at NatureFresh™ to grow our plants in the most efficient and sustainable way possible.
To start, climate control technology allows us to create the perfect growing environment for our plants. PRIVA is the system we use to manage the greenhouse environment to get the best yield and freshest product possible. It makes managing temperature, humidity levels, plant irrigation, and CO2 release as easy as opening the app remotely on a Grower’s smart phone and changing the settings to respond to the plants’ needs.
With help from PRIVA, we can ensure our plants are grown in a perfect environment – that way, you get the best product we can possibly grow!
When it comes to tending their crops, using “Green Data” is an incredibly innovative practice that allows our Growers to make proactive and educated decisions.
“Green Data” allows our team to look back in time to see how we may have previously treated our crops. By accessing this information, our Growers can potentially replicate methods used in the past, or go a different direction entirely, when dealing with current crop issues.
By using “Green Data”, our team can be more proactive than reactive with crop management!
Just like many businesses, we work hard to tackle the issue of conserving energy. To keep our energy consumption as low as possible, we use energy screen technology that maintains proper temperatures in our greenhouses while saving energy.
These screens are essential for growing year-round – if we didn’t have them, we would not be able to maintain a warmer temperature in the greenhouse during the winter months, or a cooler temperature during the summer.
Our energy screens also allow for approximately 47% energy savings – not only do they help keep the greenhouse warm, they also keep our energy usage low!
At NatureFresh™, the innovations we adopt need to align with our values – so when we find innovative technology that protects both our plants and the planet, it’s much easier to decide if it’s a good fit for our business. To learn more about our sustainable growing practices, visit our Sustainable Growing page!
Greenhouse Education Center
Many people don’t know how their food is grown, who grows it, or how it ended up in the produce department at their local grocery store. We saw this disconnect and decided to do something about it – that’s how the Greenhouse Education Center was born!
We decided to create an educational program where we would bring a greenhouse-on-wheels to stores, schools, and fairs all over eastern North America during the summer months, showing people how we grow fresh, healthy food in our greenhouses.
NatureFresh™ strives to connect with our consumers in an entirely different way than anyone else in our industry – and the Greenhouse Education Center is just one innovative tool we have used to accomplish our goal!
Big or small, almost every company out there is now using social media platforms to connect with their customers. But NatureFresh™ is taking social media in some exciting new directions.
We are committed to being completely transparent about everything we do at our farms. From showing what our plants grow in, to how our irrigation system works, to the process of packing and shipping produce in our warehouses, we want our NatureFresh™ fans to know exactly how their food grows and who grows it for them.
By showing behind-the-scenes glimpses of our farm on social media, our website, and email updates, we can share our story and ensure that people understand the journey of their food from farm to table.
Automation & Technology
Our warehouses are full of innovative machines that use cutting-edge automation technology to pack our products efficiently and safely. From robotic case stackers to automated labeling machines, our warehouses bring people and technology together to create the most efficient packing process possible.
With automation comes greater efficiency, and with greater efficiency comes fresher produce at your local grocery store!
Food Waste Focus
Smart packaging design encourages people to think more about the food they are consuming.
We have taken a firm stance on encouraging everyone to take the issue of food waste more seriously – in addition to sharing Simple Tips to Tackle Food Waste at Home and creating a Veggie Storage Guide to keep food fresher longer, we have started to add storage tips directly on our packaging! When someone picks up some NatureFresh™ Farms Beefsteak Tomatoes at the store, they’ll be reminded that the easiest way to keep their Tomatoes fresh is by storing them on their counter top (out of direct sunlight, of course).
With innovative thinking about packaging design, our team hopes to help consumers extend the shelf-life of their produce, reduce its risk of being wasted, and ensure people get the most out of their perishable foods!
The Future of Farming
Our team has a passion for discovering innovations that help us serve people better. With a dedicated team of Grow-To People, we will continue to stay ahead of the curve and be leaders of innovation in the greenhouse growing industry.
Agriculture has changed so much in just the last ten years – but the future of farming is looking brighter and brighter with innovative thinkers like the NatureFresh™ team at the forefront!