Tag Archives: Food

Robot Hands, Vertical Farms, and the Future of Food

On Saturday, I stood in the produce section of a nearby Whole Foods. My eyes were drawn to tiny packages of delicate microgreens. The producer: Aero Farms.

Agriculture faces a difficult environment. Climate change is making weather more extreme and unpredictable. Workers are harder and harder to find. But a new model of farming is emerging, and it looks like nothing else we’ve ever seen.

Aero Farms grows greens in vertical stacks in what was once an abandoned steel mill. The farm is in gritty Newark, NJ, just a few miles from the Whole Foods where I encountered their product. They use 95% less water and 99% less land than a traditional farm. And unlike other farms, they can grow year round.

Technology is also revolutionizing how produce is picked. A company called Root AI makes soft, robotic hands that can pick anything from a hearty cucumber to a fragile strawberry. Alongside the robotic hands is a camera enabled with AI, which can identify the ripe produce and leave the rest to grow.  

Seeing it in action feels like seeing the future:

These robots are now being put to use in giant warehouse farms that you could easily mistake for an Amazon Fulfillment Center. These are a project of AppHarvest, which claims they use 90% less water and are 30 times more productive per acre than a traditional farm.

Is that an Amazon Fulfillment Center in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Even if the company’s projections are a bit optimistic, there’s strong evidence from numerous producers that indoor farming uses dramatically less water and space. And with the farm just a few miles from its customers in major cities, transportation costs and emissions are cut to the bone.

Putting robotics and indoor farming together, I think we are headed to a future that produces more output (food) with far fewer inputs (labor, water, land). And unlike human labor, electronics tend to rapidly decrease in price. That will only speed their adoption and lower food prices further. 

To quote Lincoln Steffens:

“I have seen the future and it works.”

More on tech:

CHINA’S TECH CRACKDOWN MEANS ECONOMIC DECLINE

HOW TO GET INTERNET TO CUBA

INSIDE A STARTUP ACCELERATOR DEMO DAY

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Move Over, Cake Boss: There’s a New Sheriff in Town

Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery may be the Cake Boss, but there’s a new sheriff in town. 

Recoleta is an Argentinian bakery in Union City, NJ that makes some of the best cake I’ve ever tasted.  When I walked in for the first time in 2019, I noticed 3 things:

1) The beautiful interior, filled with comfortable couches and chairs

2) The engrossing pastry case, replete with the traditional pastries of Argentina

3) The prices, which are from another era. Most pastries are little more than a dollar, and slices of cake are around $3.

As you bite into a slice of their chocolate cake, you glide through a thick layer of velvety buttercream into moist spongecake pervaded by cocoa.

With a satisfying cup of coffee at your side, and a mere $4 and change gone from your wallet, you can gaze out at lively Bergenline Avenue and watch the people go by.

I can’t think of a better way to pass an afternoon.

If you’re in the area, stop by Recoleta…before TLC does. 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on food:

THE BEST MEXICAN FOOD IS IN…NEW JERSEY?

NJ’S BEST APPLE CIDER DONUT

THE BEST BAKERY IN NYC (IT’S NOT LEVAIN)

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

On a quiet side street in Union City, NJ is a small storefront. Inside: some of the best Mexican food in the country.

La Piedra del Sol is run by a lovely family from Oaxaca, Mexico, a region known for its cuisine. While we often think of California or Texas as the best places for Mexican food in America, I submit this may be the best Mexican north of the Rio Grande.

Chips and salsa are no afterthought here. Everything is housemade.

I first tried this wonderful restaurant on a frigid Valentine’s Day night. The shrimp fajitas oozed flavor. The guacamole was creamy and delicious. Simple chips and salsa were an incredible experience: multiple salsas with deep, rich flavors and crispy tortilla wedges, all housemade.

Guacamole served with flair!

Service is attentive and friendly. Everything is done in-house. As the end of our meal came, the owner sent out a delicious tres leches cake, free of charge. It was moist, milky, wonderful. This happened to be one of the last meals out my wife and I had before COVID, and it was memorable.

I visited again on a recent evening and the food was better than ever. I’m very grateful the shutdowns didn’t force this wonderful spot out of business.

La Piedra del Sol is open every day but Sunday and in addition to wallet friendly prices, it’s also BYOB. If you’re in the area, you’d be crazy not to visit.

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on food:

THE BEST BAKERY IN NYC (IT’S NOT LEVAIN)

I ATE THE BEST BURGER OF MY LIFE OUTSIDE IN THE DEAD OF WINTER

HOW I LEARNED TO COOK

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! And please leave your comments at the bottom.

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account. I will also get a fee waiver for 90-365 days, depending on what type of account you open.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! I’ll also get 5% of however much you spend, at no cost to you.

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. I’ll also get $10.

How I Eat Delicious Organic Produce for Next to Nothing: Introducing Misfits Market

Last Saturday, my wife went to a farmer’s market with her friend. As her friend loaded up on yummy veggies, my wife noticed something: she was paying $40 for a small bag of vegetables while we pay $26 for twice as much. And ours is 100% organic, whereas the farmer’s market haul was only about half.

Do we have special connections down on the farm? Sort of…

For over a year, my wife and I have gotten almost all our produce from Misfits Market, a subscription service that sends a big box of delicious, all-organic fruits and vegetables to your door every week. The quality is absolutely exceptional. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless chunks under harsh lights on salad bars until I tried theirs! Colorful, peppery, crispy, delicious!

Misfits is a great way to introduce yourself to new kinds of produce. I’ve tried golden beets, turnips, rutabagas, chard, collard greens, and countless other delicious things I never would’ve thought to buy otherwise. Getting the surprise veg each week is like Christmas! But if you prefer to choose your produce, they offer that as well.

We pay $26.25 a week for more than enough veggies for both of us. In fact, we often have to delay our next shipment (easy to do), so our real cost is probably barely over $20/week.

Before we got Misfits, I would buy a smaller assortment of veggies at Aldi for about $20. To get as much produce as Misfits, Aldi would run at least $30, even for non-organic! And Aldi is about the cheapest grocery store there is.

So let’s review:

1) Cheaper than any grocery store
2) Incredible taste
3) All-organic
4) Shipped to your door

What’s not to like? Well, nothing, which is why my wife and I have been loyal Misfits customers for so long! If you want to join us, use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. I’ll also get $10.

They have plans for households of 2-3 and a larger box for bigger households. FYI: Single-person households won’t be able to eat all this.

Enjoy in good health!

For more posts about health and nutrition, check out some of these:

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Check out the Stuff I Use page for some great deals on products and services I use to improve my health and productivity. They just might help you too!