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What Are Oishii Omakase Strawberries and Why Are They So Good?

Oishii’s Omakase strawberries are the right centerpiece for any gathering. | Photograph courtesy of Oishii

Oishii’s Omakase strawberries are the right centerpiece for any gathering. | Photograph courtesy of Oishii

It’s simple to scoff on the thought of ​​paying $4 for a single strawberry—or higher but, a field of 11 strawberries for $50. It feels too luxurious, elitist, and unrelatable. This was my response after I first noticed Oishii strawberries popping up on my Instagram and TikTok feeds, wanting extra like succulent jewels than fruit. I discovered their perfection each fascinating and eerie; I didn’t wish to be seduced by the costly strawberries.

And but, upon the arrival of my first field of Oishii strawberries, the variations between estos strawberries and others strawberries had been rapid.

It started with the aroma. Oishii strategically has holes of their containers so the scent of strawberries can seep out and the scent is intoxicating—fruity, candy, and welcoming. I want to bottle it and put on it as a fragrance. Then there’s the feel and taste. A typical strawberry has chew and crunch and are sometimes picked earlier than they’re ripe, resulting in an disagreeable tart-forward taste. Oishii strawberries give upon the primary chew—they’re pulpy and juicy with a tantalizingly gentle texture akin to suede. The flavour is good and strong, and tastes simply pretty much as good because it smells.

However earlier than Oishii grew to become the most popular strawberry on the web, it was merely a imaginative and prescient from cofounder Hiroki Koga. “Hiroki is Japanese and grew up in Japan the place fruit is actually one thing to be celebrated,” Lesia Dallimore, Oishii’s VP of name and advertising and marketing, explains. “Strawberries are his favourite fruit of his and if there have been strawberries on the desk when he received house as a child, he knew that there was one thing particular that occurred that day.”

Oishii strawberry strawberries omakase
Oishii’s strawberries are grown on vertical farms in New Jersey and California. | Photograph courtesy of Oishii

When Koga lastly got here stateside, he was excited to strive the entire fruits grown underneath California’s yr spherical sunshine and temperate climate. His first chew of a strawberry, nevertheless, was disappointing—watery, crunchy, and missing sweetness. It was nothing just like the strawberries in Japan. Koga, who has a background as a vertical farming marketing consultant, knew he could possibly be the answer to this downside.

The primary Oishii farm landed in New Jersey in 2019. The second rising facility arrived in California later in 2021. Then got here a fair bigger farm, additionally in New Jersey, in 2022. New Jersey, it is secure to say, is nothing just like the mountains of Japan the place the varietals for the Omakase strawberry historically grows.

Koga, alongside Oishii co-founder Brendan Somerville, was in a position to manipulate the environment inside the indoor farm’s partitions to make sure best rising situations. “We name it the environmental recipe—we recreate an ideal day, on daily basis,” Dallimore says of the seemingly utopian course of that suspends, for a short second, the truth of local weather change for conventional agriculture. “The solar comes up with the lights and there is the correct amount of moisture, bees really fly round and propagate all of our berries, and it is identical to the right day within the Alps in Japan, however in New Jersey.”

Oishii is attempting to meet the demand for his or her strawberries however because of their delicate nature, they’re at present solely accessible in New Jersey, New York, and California. The model, nevertheless, nonetheless finds intelligent methods to ship the intoxicating flavors of their strawberries nationwide. They’ve collaborated with a lot of celebrated meals manufacturers, together with West~bourne for a strawberry butter, Brightland for a strawberry vinegar, and Open Marketplace for a strawberry oat milk unique to Los Angeles’s Household Model Pageant. “Our strawberry is so distinctive so the extra individuals that may take pleasure in them, the higher,” Dallimore says.

“We name it the environmental recipe—we recreate an ideal day, on daily basis.”

It might sound sacrilege to show the fragile flavors and creamy texture of Oishii berries into a ramification or vinegar, nevertheless it’s really a means for Oishii to upcycle the berries which may not be as aesthetically pleasing or might have delicate bruises and subsequently aren’t match for his or her typical packaging.

The value tag for Oishii strawberries isn’t fairly as steep as when the fruit first debuted (you may get a field of 11 strawberries for $20 now, somewhat than $50, at taking part Complete Meals), however it’s nonetheless sufficient to trigger pause. There’s a answer within the works: new forms of strawberries that will likely be sturdier and appropriate for smoothies or youngsters’s lunch containers are at present being developed. They’re additionally hoping to launch a line of deliciously succulent tomatoes whereas persevering with to indicate how vertical farming can enhance the way in which we take pleasure in produce.

However the Omakase strawberry, in its present kind, is deliberate in its price ticket. The strawberry is methodically grown, hand-picked, and supposed to be one of the best strawberry you may get—excellent for a hostess present, a commencement current, or any form of celebration.

“It is value it,” Dallimore says. “You are having an expertise as a substitute of simply consuming.”

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Kat Thompson is a senior workers author of meals & drink at Thrillist. Observe her on Twitter @katthompsonn.

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