If you could climb into a bushel of asparagus and follow along on its journey from field to the grocery store, you’d learn a few things along the way.
You’d see how far those green spears have to travel – sometimes up to 3,000 miles per crop, research shows. And you’d discover how long it takes them in transit: an average of six days. Which means when our produce hits store shelves, it’s already almost a week old, and in some cases much older. And those many hours in cold storage, time on the road and general handling have serious consequences: fruits and vegetables can lose up to 45 percent of their nutrient value.
The miles have other consequences, too. Food trucking is an enormous source of pollution, oil consumption, and emissions here in the U.S.; EPA data show that food trucking is responsible for 12.5 percent of total emissions here in the U.S.¹ Air shipment is a similar story; one study found that the importation of fruit, nuts, and vegetables to California alone released 70,000 tons of CO2, the equivalent of 12,000 cars on the road.²
But how to solve this problem, when the bulk of America’s fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in “breadbasket” regions such as California’s Central Valley and served on tables all over the country? And when Americans have developed an expectation of having produce available all year round, regardless or region or season?
Plenty’s unique indoor farming system allows us to produce up to 350 times more produce per square foot than conventional farmland. And with those indoor farms located just a short drive from city centers, our method slashes gasoline use and emissions.
Other environmental benefits include vastly reduced water usage – a huge plus in drought-prone regions such as California – and absolutely zero pesticides going into the soil, groundwater, and your food.
And those asparagus spears? Not only are they an heritage variety chosen for optimum taste, the fact that they travel a day or less to reach your table preserves their full health benefits for you and your family.