Startup Ferme d’Hiver has launched a technology to help Quebec growers produce strawberries year-round and reduce reliance on imports during the winter.
The vertical farm technology will produce chemical-free berries and has raised $5 million in a “seed-round” from investors to accelerate expansion.
The technology, known as precision farming, is exclusive to Ferme d’Hiver and optimizes climate for indoor production.
Alain Brisebois, chief executive officer, says that they are changing the game for growers, suppliers and retail. “We can guarantee supply and price.”
Ferme d’Hiver has a commercial agreement with Sobeys and hopes to make more agreements as they further implement the technology.
Marketing and communications manager Daphné Mailhot says that they are currently building a Ferme d’Hiver in Vaudreuil and will continue expanding in 2022. “We are working to develop strong partnerships with producers around Quebec to build more and more, our vision doesn’t stop at the Quebec border.”
It is expected to be able to distribute its Fraise d'hiver by this fall.
Brisebois says that vertical farming is done in the produce industry for leafy greens, but this is a first for berries. “Timing is perfect. People are looking for local, chemical-free items. We can produce during the entire winter season, so we’re checking all the boxes.”