Foxton vertical farm providing strawberries in winter

Some things are intrinsically linked to summer – the smell of sunscreen, the chirp of cicadas, or maybe the sweet taste of strawberries.

But if you look at the temperature outside right now, strawberries might seem like a distant memory.

Not in Manawatū-Whanganui. In Foxton, you can get fresh strawberries all winter long.

Indoor farming company 26 Seasons has produced 50,000 vertically-farmed strawberry plants this year — all grown in an shed originally used for dyeing carpets.

"When they go into the system, there's no soil or media in there at all," site manager Peter Moran said.

"There's just water circulating around, and in that water there is nutrients."

He said that it has taken "a bit of Kiwi ingenuity" to get the operation to where it is now.

The team is developing the grow system and the technology to go overseas where food security and seasonality is an issue.

"There's so much learning still to do, but we've got something that is material here, but it'll be in supermarkets soon, so that'll be a pretty proud moment for everyone," 26 Seasons co-founder Matthew Keltie said.

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