“An ambitious, almost fantastical, manifestation of agricultural technology is expected to come to fruition this fall. From the remains of an abandoned steel mill in Newark, New Jersey, the creators of AeroFarms are building what they say will be the largest vertical farm, producing two million pounds of leafy greens a year.
Whether it even qualifies as a “farm” is a matter of taste. The greens will be manufactured using a technology called aeroponics, a technique in which crops are grown in vertical stacks of plant beds, without soil, sunlight or water.”
The food and beverage industry is remarkably concentrated, with top companies wielding multiple, sometimes dozens, of brands to capture over 70% market share in the US market in key segments like beer, soda, chocolate, and cereal.
With increased global focus on health and natural eating, smaller food companies have grown in recent years — a Boston Consulting Group report found that CPG companies with less than $5B in sales gained 2.7 points of market share since 2011 — representing $18.1B in aggregate sales growth. BCG also noted that in 2015 the industry saw its fastest growth rate since 2012.
The company’s lettuce robot — which scans a field using computer vision and douses just the weeds with deadly fertilizer — seems to be gaining traction in the market. Heraud says that 5 percent of the lettuce produced in the U.S. has been grown in California and Arizona using Blue River lettuce robots. “If you’ve eaten lettuce over the last few months, odds are the lettuce has been scanned by the lettucebot,” says Heraud.
The lettuce bot, which is in its fourth generation, can boost the yield of farms by 10% and can reduce operation costs by replacing human labor. Manually spraying and pulling weeds on a lettuce farms is a difficult job.
Callahan, a celebrity caterer credited by Martha Stewart with inventing the bite-sized slider, bought his first 3-D plastics printer two years ago to wow guests at a holiday party. Today, he has his sights trained on printing the food itself. He imagined drumsticks with edible bones; could they be made of celery? Blue cheese? Hot sauce? Callahan already makes an edible cracker spoon to use with caviar, but he envisions an entire line of cutlery, plates and menus that could be printed and consumed at parties. He sees mini-milk cartons made of chocolate and Asian-style takeout boxes formed from wontons.
A self-driving John Deere tractor rumbles through Ian Pigott’s 2,000-acre farm every week or so to spray fertilizer, guided by satellite imagery and each plot’s harvesting history. The 11-ton behemoth, loaded with so many screens it looks like an airplane cockpit, relays the nutrient information to the farmer’s computer system. With weather forecasts and data on pesticide use, soil readings, and plant tissue tests pulled by various pieces of software, Pigott can keep tabs on the farm down to the square meter in real time without ever leaving his carpeted office.
“This is becoming more standard,” says Pigott, who grows a rotation of wheat, oilseed, oats, and barley on his farm in the rolling Hertfordshire countryside an hour north of London.
Roughly a billion cicadas will soon take over parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York, filling the air with their raucous mating call.
The invasion only lasts six weeks. Once the baby cicadas, also called nymphs, have hatched from their eggs in the trees, they’ll fall to the ground and burrow into the soil, not emerging for another 17 years. Underground they survive off moisture from tree roots. Cicadas don’t eat solid food.
The adult cicadas are a gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb source of protein. They’re a favorite treat of dogs and cats.
The Rising Creek Bakery in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania, is making special cookies and custard to mark the 17-year occasion. Bakers freeze cicadas, remove their wings and coat them in sugar before placing them on top of a chocolate chip cookie or custard with caramel sauce, CBS Pittsburgh reported.
Harper’s Bazaar lists its top eateries with a great view to go along including 360 Bar & Dining “with sweeping views of the Sydney skyline, at the top of the Sydney Tower is a 'rooftop' you won't want to miss. With dark wood finishes and soft light sculptures, the mood sets itself as you dine on a 2-3 course meal of everything from oysters to handmade tagliatelle.”
Sushi is an art form, but one that is getting increasingly automated – the video below shows a fascinating amount of technology in magnets, sensors, POS at a sushi bar.
Wikipedia describes the growing phenomenon not just in Japan but coming to a location near you
Kaiten-zushi is a sushi restaurant where the plates with the sushi are placed on a rotating conveyor belt or moat that winds through the restaurant and moves past every table and counter seat. Customers may place special orders, but most simply pick their selections from a steady stream of fresh sushi moving along the conveyor belt. The final bill is based on the number and type of plates of the consumed sushi. Some restaurants use a fancier presentation such as miniature wooden "sushi boats" traveling small canals or miniature locomotive cars.
Buzzing along at 350 feet, it takes the ground-controlled aircraft just 11 minutes and 16 seconds to pass over 22.5 acres and capture 219 images.
If a yellow patch shows up on the near-infrared photographs, that alerts the staff at Highland Precision Ag — and eventually, the grower — that there is an issue with some of the plants. The drone team can then come back with more specialized cameras and lenses to pinpoint exactly the problem the plants have encountered, whether that’s spider mites, mold or something else that could kill them or hinder peak production.
Over the next three years, the system Highland Precision Ag is developing will give farmers custom computer dashboards on which they can monitor their crops, follow recipes for treating disease and treat only those areas of their fields that need it.
“Most farmers today just broadcast chemicals” across their fields, Maxwell said. “We want to get to the point we can build a recipe with fertilizer or chemical companies, a customized treatment plan. That will reduce the footprint, environmentally, while still producing the yields we need to produce for a hungry world.”