Strawberries and rocket: vertical farm in Abu Dhabi plans to expand

The farm’s lettuce will be on sale from end of September for Dh40 to Dh45 per kilogram

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A vertical farm in Abu Dhabi that has been growing fresh greens using hydroponics plans to produce strawberries and garden rocket for sale in the near future.

Smart Acres, the firm behind the project, said they have already seen a positive response from customers about their products, specifically their lettuce, which is going on sale end of this month.

The vegetables are grown under LED lights inside eight converted shipping containers using hydroponics – where crops are grown with nutrient-rich water instead of soil.

“We are planning for an expansion in the next year and we will have almost 80 shipping containers,” said Vishakh Nath, farm operations manager at the firm.

“In addition to the lettuces, we are planning for strawberries and rockets. The main project that we are looking forward to is to develop our own potato seeds within UAE.”

The vegetables are grown in a 237-square-metre facility at Abu Dhabi’s Armed Forces Officers Club.

At present they can produce 900kg of lettuce a month and grow four different varieties. The lettuce will sell for Dh40 to Dh45 per kilogram.

“We have been giving samples of our lettuces to restaurants, cafes and customers in the last few months and we’ve been getting a very good review about the taste, texture and the freshness of our lettuces, so we’re so excited that it’s going on sale this month,” said Mr Nath.