Do you remember that scene in Crazy Rich Asians where Rachel and Nick fly to Singapore and they get to sleep in real beds while wearing real pajamas? Time moves fast, friends, and now that feels like the bad old days of luxury travel. Since October 1, CNN reports, Singapore Airlines has been serving specialty salads made from fresh produce on its 19-hour Newark-to-Singapore route. The veggies are grown at AeroFarms, an indoor vertical farm less than 2km from Newark Liberty Airport, which plans to make deliveries several times a week.
In case you were getting excited, know that this only applies to passengers in business class, though Singapore Airlines is considering expanding to feed the peasants in coach eventually. The first month’s salad will be arugula with heirloom tomatoes, cured Iberico ham, grilled palm hearts, and spiced tomato dressing. It pairs well with chardonnay.
“We wanted to be more sustainable and reduce our carbon footprint by using hyper-local produce,” Singapore Airline’s food and beverage director Antony McNeil told CNN, “and we wanted the in-flight food to taste as vibrant as possible.” I’m not quite sure how much of a dent fresh organic produce will put in the airline’s carbon footprint compared to, you know, flying, but I guess it’s a noble goal. Singapore Airlines says that if this program is successful, it will begin partnerships with other vertical farms near its other U.S. hubs.
What’s really interesting about this is AeroFarms itself. It’s been around since 2004, and it’s all indoors, under LED lights, so it can produce food all year round. It uses 95% less water than a conventional farm; instead of watering with sprinklers, the farmers spray the roots of the plants with mist bottles. It’s completely organic, with no fungicides or pesticides. The farm grows 700 different kinds of fruits and vegetables and supplies local restaurants. Will this be how we’ll get our food in the future?