Vertical farm produces kosher certified no-insect produce

The ultra-Orthodox Machzikei Hadas kashrut authority in Antwerp has approved herbs grown in a vertical farm in Holland as ready for use without washing or checking for insects.

The Future Crops vertical farm company has developed a system of propagating herbs in an entirely insect-free environment (photo credit: FUTURE CROPS)
The Future Crops vertical farm company has developed a system of propagating herbs in an entirely insect-free environment
(photo credit: FUTURE CROPS)
In a breakthrough for the kashrut market, a vertical farm company based in the Netherlands has produced and marketed culinary herbs with no need to wash or check for insects as is usually required by Jewish law.
Critically, the new line of herbs and their no-wash status have been approved by the ultra-Orthodox Machzikei Hadas kashrut authority in Antwerp, as well as the Star K authority, giving it strong credibility in the general kashrut market.
According to Jewish law, eating insects is strictly forbidden and those who observe kashrut must be diligent in thoroughly washing and checking lettuce, herbs, leafy greens, fruits and vegetables to ensure that they bear no insects.
But the Future Crops vertical farm company has developed a system of propagating basil, dill, coriander (cilantro) and parsley in an entirely insect-free environment.
Vertical farms are indoor, multi-level facilities which optimize plant growth in a highly controlled environment, maximizing land usage and produce yields.
Future Crops co-founder and CEO Gary Greenspan says that its facilities are entirely sealed off from the outside environment preventing insects from entering. The earth used to grow the herbs is also specially treated to avoid the growth of insects amongst the produce, and no pesticides are used.
The produce has been marketed under Future Crops’ “Eve” brand and has been marketed in France, the UK, Belgium and several other European countries.

Future Crops’ “Eve” brand (FUTURE CROPS).
The company says it hopes to introduce arugula, baby spinach and romaine lettuce to its product line next year.
Rabbi Asher Sternbuch of the Machzikei Hadas Antwerp kashrut authority said the new product line and the fact that the produce does not need washing or checking represented a big breakthrough for kashrut observers.
Sternbuch said that the high level of control over the environment and the produce meant that the risk of the presence of insects was practically eliminated.
The rabbi said that Machzikei Hadas kashrut inspectors have conducted laborious inspections of numerous batches of produce and are yet to have found even one insect amongst the herbs.
Sternbuch said the development was very welcome and that it represented a big opportunity for the kashrut market.