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Artful Living | Oishii Interview

Photography provided by Oishii

The are no rules to the art of going viral. But just when I thought I’d seen everything, the world’s trendiest, most luxe strawberry landed on my social-media feeds. Meet Oishii. Inspired to share the Japanese strawberry experience with the world, Hiroki Koga brought Omakase Berry seeds to New York City to establish a first-of-its-kind indoor vertical strawberry farm. And the rest is history. We chatted with Koga about what food means to him, how the Omakase Berry differs from the standard grocery store variety and what’s next for this exciting brand.

Artful Living | Oishii Interview

What does food mean to you?

Food means everything to me. Some people think I am a little obsessed, maybe too obsessed with food. I optimize my entire day around what I am going to eat and where. The best example of this is when I travel. The first thing I do is sort out where I want to eat. What are the must-try restaurants? What’s new? What have I read about? What am I craving? I do my research then plan all other activities around my pending dining reservations and locations. Food is the North Star of any good vacation. Any budget I set aside for a trip, food is always prioritized and if I must make sacrifices in other areas to accommodate, I will!

Artful Living | Oishii Interview

Why did you decide to launch Oishii?

I wanted to bring the incredible experiences and knowledge of Japanese produce, fruit culture and farming techniques to the United States. I knew people would love it, and I was excited at the opportunity to truly surprise and delight with the incredible Omakase Berry taste and aroma. It’s since become our mission to bring delicious-tasting produce to people and do so in a sustainable way. Ultimately, I want people to experience the joy that a delicious berry can truly bring. I love food and sharing it, and Oishii lets me do that on a larger scale.

What makes the Omakase Berry different from other berries?

The Omakase Berry is such a different experience from the conventional berries you find in a local grocery store. From the incredible aroma to the creamy texture to the sweet taste, it’s unlike any berry you’ve ever had. It’s a varietal that typically grows in the Japan Alps during the winter months. After years of research, development and testing, we were able to recreate that optimal environment for the Omakase Berry to thrive year-round in a vertical farm environment, allowing us to deliver consistently delicious, fresh and pesticide-free berries.

What is the best way to eat the Omakase Berry?

I love to share this tip! You can eat the Omakase Berry any way you like, but I recommend you eat them from the side to get the full flavor profile and the most delicious experience. The sweetness of the berry is concentrated in the tip, so if you eat that first, which most people naturally do, you get a big flavor burst. If you enjoy it from the side, you get that sweetness burst in every bite.

Are there any exciting new products or collaborations on the horizon?

We are very excited about our next product. We’re currently in the research and development phases for the Oishii tomato. I just tried some tomatoes yesterday and was blown away by their appearance and taste. Our team of plant scientists, farmers and tomato experts is working hard to perfect the environmental recipe, farming techniques and TLC that strike the right balance to create a tomato that is worthy of the Oishii name.

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