PLAN ​​​​B​ERRIES INC​.
PLAN BERRIES Blog

Check us out regularly for updates and information about what we are up to and what's going on in the industry as it relates to you.

​12/1/2016
Welcome!  And thank you for checking us out!  We are very excited to update this blog as a way of keeping you up to date with the goings on in our company and in our industry as a whole, especially as it relates to you.  Right now we are busy working around the clock setting up the structure for what will house our table-top/hydroponic strawberry project.  We are doing a lot of scrambling at the moment as we unexpectedly accelerated our timeframe, but we are doing surprisingly well in shifting on the fly.  We have the main stratcure nearly complete, and at the same time we are having the irrigation laid into the ground as well as working out the needs with PG&E for our electricity requirements.  The plants have already been planted into the compost bags and are just waiting for us to complete the structure and the above ground (table-top) platforms to transfer them on to.  Timing now is critical since we have planted and these plants will soon need to be fertilized to get them strong enough to start producing fruit early next Spring.  We will have a reverse osmosis filtration system set up to clean the water we will use for watering and also feeding the plants.  The other part of the system is what is called a "fertigation" machine, which is basically a machine that combines the liquid fertilizer with the water and sends it along the same drip lines to all the plants.  This will save a tremendous amount of water as the plants will get directly fed what they need and we also minimize the amount of runoff, as well as eliminate soil erosion (as we are not longer planting directly into the ground), which also does good for our local eco-systems as well as just being better for the environment as a whole.  This process of growing above ground is very environmentally friendly and extremely sustainable when compared to the current ways of farming.  We also minimize the carbon footprint of farming since we will now no longer need to run tractors and other farming equipment into the fields to do bedding, fumigating, irrigation, etc., every 6-8 months to prep the grounds for the next season.  Once we build these structures, we will not have any major maintenance to them for about 10 years.  The organic compost substrates we are using in place of soil, are composed of a recycled coconut mixture and are reuseable for up to 3 years before needing to be replaced.  The galvanized metal we use for building the structure once it needs to be replaced, will be sent to a metal recycling company where they will melt it down and reuse it for something else.  These are just some of the ways that we fully believe that this process of farming will not only be the future of farming, but be better for all of us who consume this produce as well as better for the enviornment due to its sustainability and recycleable nature.  We also believe that if done properly, we can duplicate this model of farming just about anywhere in the world.  It is already being done as a standard practice overseas, and you see a lot more "urban farming" and greenhouse and hydroponic facilities popping up and growing produce in ways we have done seeing to this scale in the past.  It's an exciting time and we are committed to doing our part in finding solutions to the issue we currently face and also pro-activiely going beyond to ensure what we are doing will have positive impact on generations to come.  We have a growing population and soil erosion, climate change and just the loss of land due to needing it for housing, roads, etc, and we are still needing to find ways to grow even more food for more people and with less land.  This is what drives us.

​12/5/2016

Light at the end of the tunnel...

We are nearing the finish line on phase one of our hydroponic/table-top project.  We will have 8 acres for this first season, looking to increase it to 18 acres by the second season (July 2017).  This past weekend we completed the installation of the "gutters" (table-top fixtures) and now we are working to complete the electrical wiring needed for the "fertigation" and reverse osmosis machines, as well as laying the rest of the pipes for the irrigation lines.  We will also begin clearing space for the structure that will house the water and fertizilier tanks and the machines.  All of this is going on while we are currently still harvesting our current season's conventional crop at Mahoney Ranch as well as getting ready to hopefully see our first fruit coming on the conventional crop at Oso Flaco, adjacent to the hydroponic project.  Our other exciting news is that we started packing for Trader Joe's!  Now you can find our fruit at Stater Bros (in the Fresh Farms and I ❤️berries label), as well as HEB, Albertsons in the Phoenix AZ area, and in Western Canada Walmart stores, on top of Southern CA Trader Joe's (except you won't know it's ours).  We also are trying to complete the custom packaging we will showcase our table-top premium strawberries in.  It will be a single layer, place packed 1LB clamshell, and look completely different than anything than you have seen before!  We cannot wait to bring it to you!  More to come...
​12/12/2016
Photos
Progress is continuing with the table-top/hydroponic project at Oso Flaco. We have completed installation of the drip lines, the water mains have been laid into the ground and now we await the delivery of our reverse osmosis filtration machine. The ground rooted conventional plants are maturing nicely and we are anticipating our first harvest in 8-10 weeks from now.  Also, we have begun our in-house testing of a new technology that if it works the way we believe it can, will revolutionize the way we can ship strawberries anywhere.  We will look forward to sharing the preliminary results of this initial round of testing soon.  Also speaking about sharing, we are also going to embrace a notion unfortunately not shared by many of our counterparts which revolves around total transparency of information.  In the coming days, weeks, months and years we will continually update this site with what we are doing, why we are doing it, what we are using to accomplish our goals, and then comparing it to what we know as the standards of how other methods achieve similar results.  We want everyone to feel confident in what they eat when it comes from our farms.  
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2/22/2017
Sorry for the lag in posts, we have had a lot going on here lately. We have been working around the clock, behind the scenes preparing for the launch of our MASTERPLAN brand of hydroponic strawberries.  This includes custom designed packaging that will not only showcase this premium product differently, but also extend its shelf life as well as minimize or eliminate damage to the fruit at field due to packing, on the truck during transport and at retail level during display and sales.
As most of you are also aware, we have had a run of some crazy weather here in California.  One of the wettest Winters we have had in a very long time, it is much needed for the long term water supply and health and condition of our growing regions, but as you may imagine, it does no good for us in our current seasons as it prevents us from being able to harvest, but also slows down our production and hampers quality.  That is also where we see the set up of our hydroponic project having impact, in that rain will not have the adverse effects that it does on traditional farming, including lags in production and quality issues (concerns).  It will also be much more labor friendly and efficient.  We believe that this is the way of the future, adn we cannot wait to be able to show you the fruits of our labor (pun intended!).

I promise to be more regular with the posts moving forward, please check back soon for more updates on what we have coming down the pipeline for 2017 and beyond!
​4/10/2017
The countdown to the future begins now.  T-minus 7 days and counting until we launch MASTERPLAN brand premium hydroponically grown strawberries to the public.  We have had terminus support and interest from our friends all over the globe, but most importantly locally who want to offer you a better tasting, cleaner and more suitably produce strawberry.  We are excited and proud to be a part of what we think should shape the future of the industry, in particular, for strawberries, in terms of the way they are produced and packaged and sold.  We take pride in also announcing that our custom designed clamshells that will be sold in stores across the country will be among the first that will have the 100% recyclable symbol to let you know that our mission to grow sustainably and in an environmentally friendly way, continues down the line to how we sell and market the fruit, and what it is packaged in.  We have given many tours of our operations as of late and those who have been lucky enough to experience the fruit, have said that it definitely tastes better than fruit grown in the ground.  
​The Future of Farming...now
This system of growing above ground utilizing hydroponic techniques that also requires less water and labor to achieve a better quality and flavor strawberry is the future of farming in the US
​Cleaner and "Greener"
No fumigants needed to grow.  A fraction of the sprays to protect the plants from harmful pests and diseases.  NO ROUNDUP as the plants and fruit are above ground and weeds have zero effect. Sold in 100% recyclable containers.
​Healthy plants, better fruit
Almost ready to unveil our Masterplan
We are excited to announce we have a launch date for our MASTERPLAN brand of premium hydroponic strawberries.  We will begin packing and shipping the week of April 17, 2017!  
Plants are similar to us in that they have their own immune systems to ward off pest damage and disease.  In thi optimal setting, we have very healthy and robust plants that need less chemicals to protect them and produce better tasting fruit.

*MAS​TER​PLAN

​[MAS-TER-PLAN, MAH-STER-]

DEF. :  TO DEVELOP OR IMPROVE THROUGH A LONG-RANGE PLAN THAT BALANCES AND HARMONIZES ALL ELEMENTS.


Now available 
Our hydroponics are now being carried and sold in Bristol Farms, Mother's Markets and Stater Bros in Southern CA.  Look for it, its the one that looks different and better than everything else!
​*NOW in HEB in Texas
Eats sweet like they should
With this set up and system, we feed our plants the optimal amounts of pure nutrients needed and it produces really great tasting and great looking fruit. We also leave them on the plants until they are full red and exactly ripe!
The future is bright!
A lot to get caught up with!
With the positive response we are getting from customers and also from the results and indicators we see from the plants, we are currently working on an aggressive expansion plan to be able to bring more fruit to you
We have officially launched a new category in strawberries.  Now it's no longer conventional or organic, there is now an option that is much better than conventional and also competes with organics.