Dentsu Facility Management Inc will start taking orders for the "Chef's Farm," a small vegetable plant that can be installed in, for example, a restaurant, in June 2010.
The vegetable plant, which will be released in the summer of 2010 in Japan, was exhibited at International Food Machinery & Technology Exhibition 2010 (FOOMA JAPAN 2010), which took place from June 8 to 11, 2010, in Tokyo. It is priced at about ¥8.3 million (approx US$90,552). Dentsu Facility Management claims that it is possible to harvest 60 heads of lettuce per day (20,000 per year) and recoup the investment in about five years.
The Chef's Farm comes with five nutriculture beds, each of which is 2,750mm in width and 1,270mm in depth. Each bed is installed with long and thin metal frames on which lettuce seeds can be planted in sponges (one piece of sponge for a seed).
The metal frames are moved from right to left by inches as the vegetables grow. Seeds are planted in the rightmost frame, and grown vegetables are harvested from the leftmost frame.
Though the metal frames have to be manually moved, they can be moved at the same time by using a chained mechanism. It takes about an hour to harvest 60 heads of lettuce, move the frames and plant seeds, Dentsu Facility Management said.
As lighting equipment, 12 40W fluorescent lamps are installed for each nutriculture bed. The lighting equipment, culture solution and temperature can be controlled for each bed. Therefore, five different vegetables can be cultivated by using the five beds.
The size of the Chef's Farm is 3,940 (W) x 1,460 (D) x 2,330mm (H) including the air shower unit. The cultivation space can be slid forward to make a space behind the nutriculture beds.