It has been years since the farm-to-table movement first took off, but now it is taking flight in an entirely new — and very literal — way.
Singapore Airlines has partnered with AeroFarms, an agtech company in Newark, New Jersey that operates what it claims is “the world’s largest indoor vertical farm,” to launch what may be the start of the farm-to-airplane-seatback-table movement.
Starting October 1, the airlines is offering business class passengers who board its 19-hour flight between Newark and Singapore to eat meals featuring locally grown, pesticide-free produce from the massive (stretching 70,000 square feet over three-and-a-half acres), high-yield, highly efficient and, well, just high (layer upon layer of edible leafy greens under 40-foot-tall ceilings) farm, located only about five miles away from Newark-Liberty International Airport, CNN reports.
Singapore Airlines’ food and beverage director, Antony McNeil, told CNN the partnership with AeroFarms was part of an effort toward innovation in the meals it provides to passengers. In addition, McNeil said, “we wanted to be more sustainable and reduce our carbon footprint by using hyper-local produce, and we wanted the in-flight food to taste as vibrant as possible.”
The airlines will receive deliveries from AeroFarms several times per week, and, Singapore Airlines spokesperson James Boyd told CNN, “the produce will make its way into the dishes within hours and up to no more than a few days of being harvested and delivered to our kitchens.”
Initially, only business class passengers can enjoy the fresh, local veggies — aeroponically produced in LED lighting — in their on-board meals, but eventually the airline intends to offer the AeroFarm-grown produce to all passengers on-board what is said to be the world’s longest flight.
The produce AeroFarms will deliver to Singapore Airlines to serve on the flights has been selected with the context in which it will be eaten in mind. Salad greens will emphasize freshness, crunch and pack a flavorful punch. Arugula, for instance, will feature prominently in one of the airlines’ initial farm-to-plane meals because its “strong pepper notes,” as CNN suggests, will play especially well “given the diminished palate at altitude.”
And you felt lucky to get a little bag of pretzels on your last flight…