Launched in 2018 in New York City, Oishii (which means 'delicious' in Japanese) gained attention from the culinary world for the ultra-sweet taste profile of its specialty variety of strawberries, which founder and CEO Hiroki Koga likens to strawberry candy, and for its jaw-dropping price point of $50 for eight strawberries.
Earlier this year, Oishii closed a $50m Series A funding round to accelerate its expansion into new markets and develop the company's proprietary indoor growing technology capable of growing strawberries at a commercial scale.
"Since the early days of Oishii, consumers, chefs, and retailers have all been asking us to bring our berries to LA. We can’t wait for more people to experience the Omakase berry as our company continues to reimagine the future of farming," Koga told FoodNavigator-USA.
Oishii will employ the same cultivation and growing techniques as its flagship farm located outside of Manhattan, ensuring the same quality and product consistency of its berries.
'We were able to crack the code'
Koga noted how Oishii is one of the very few players in the industry to embrace the full potential of indoor farming
by growing notoriously difficult strawberries rather than leafy greens, which make up most of the market.
"Pollinated fruits, such as strawberries, are known as a difficult crop to grow in an indoor farm setting due to their sophisticated cultivation cycles and need for natural pollination," said Koga.
"We were able to crack this code by using technology to actually recreate the most ideal growing conditions consistently for both bees and berries with our own environmental recipe, that includes everything from a precise temperature to honoring the strawberry’s natural rest cycles. This way, the bees are able to thrive and pollinate the strawberries just like they would in nature."
A more accessible price point
Oishii berries will first be available at Destroyer Culver City, a café atelier started by Chef Jordan Kahn.
"We’re so excited to start with Destroyer in Culver City as our first retail partner in Los Angeles, and we’ll have more exciting news to share about other places Angelenos can find us in the near future, including options for getting berries directly to their doorsteps," said Koga.
In New York, Oishii berries are still available for pickup at Murray’s Cheese, Eli’s Market and Naked Retail, and for delivery to Manhattan, Brooklyn, and parts of New Jersey.
Asked about the hefty price tag, Koga said that while Oishii's strawberries will be likely always be considered an ultra-premium product, the company is making strides to make it a more accessible luxury.
"As we grow and continue the R&D process with a few other strawberry varietals that are designed to deliver exceptional flavor for more everyday occasions, we’ll be able to deliver berries at a more accessible price point," said Koga, adding that the company is currently developing new strawberry varietals, as well as other types of flowering produce, such as tomatoes, melons, and peppers.