Oishii, The Brand Behind the Omakase Strawberry, Introduces New ‘Koyo’ Berry Breed

Compared to its coveted predecessor, Koyo is a firmer fruit with 'refreshing sweetness.'

February 23, 2023

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Photo by: Jennelle Fong/Photo courtesy of Oishii

Jennelle Fong/Photo courtesy of Oishii

Who knew there was such a demand for pricey luxury strawberries? Oishii, the company that brought us the high-end Omakase Berry, a vertically farmed fruit with Japanese roots that one Food Network writer described as “creamy, soft and practically candy-like” and “the Platonic ideal of fruit” — that’s who. And now, the New Jersey-based brand behind what it boasts is “the world’s largest indoor vertical strawberry farm” (yes, in New Jersey), is bringing us a new fancy strawberry varietal, The Koyo Berry.

The Koyo Berry (Koyo means “elated” in Japanese) riffs off a “a Japanese cultivar, traditionally grown just outside Tokyo during the winter months” that, Oishii promises, will bring to your berry bowl a distinct flavor profile. It offers "refreshing sweetness, balanced acidity, fragrant aroma, and slightly firm texture,” according to the brand.

Like the Omakase, the Koyo is non-GMO, pesticide-free and packaged at peak ripeness in trays that individually cradle each berry, like perpetually-in-season fresh-fruit bonbons. The new berry differs from its predecessor in that it offers more balanced acidity and a familiar flavor similar to a fresh-from-a-farmer’s-market American strawberry, a texture that is more firm and hearty than super creamy, and more discernible seeds.

Hiroki Koga, CEO and co-founder of Oishii, says the Koyo Berry builds on the produce brand’s promise to produce “clean, fresh strawberries that are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before.”

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Oishii

Photo courtesy of Oishii

“Every bite of The Koyo Berry immediately transports me to a warm summer day – even though it’s the middle of winter in New York,” Oishii COO and Co-Founder Brendan Somerville adds in a press release. “I can’t wait for our customers to try these berries.”

You may recall that, when the Omakase Berry was first introduced, in 2018, it was a high-priced favorite of Michelin-starred chefs and deep-pocketed food adventurers. As recently as 2022, an eight-pack of the large, sweet, aromatic, creamy Omakase strawberries cost $50. Eventually, as Oishii expanded its vertical farming operation, the price of the berries came down. You can now get them at retail stores like Whole Foods priced between $6 and $20, depending on tray size. (We found an Omakase Berry six-pack on FreshDirect for $14.99.)

The Koyo Berry is also available, starting today, on FreshDirect in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for $15 MSRP per tray. The new berry will roll out to other markets, including Los Angeles, later this year. (Oishii operates three state-of-the-art vertical farms, two outside of Manhattan and one in Los Angeles.)

Mary Mitchell, FreshDirect’s category merchant of produce, says in a press release that, while the Omakase Berry offers a “delicate sweetness,” the Koyo Berry brings a “balanced brightness.”

“Each bite of The Koyo Berry delivers a refreshing zing and sweet finish which elevates the timeless strawberry flavor,” she says.

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