Will The Most Expensive Spices Save Vertical Farming?

Will The Most Expensive Spices Save Vertical Farming


Vertical farming has been struggling, due to high capital costs and high energy costs. Some vertical farms are now setting their sights on the most valuable crops in the world to achieve profitability. A good example is Veles Farming, a start up in Slovakia since 2021, that specializes in growing Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world.

Saffron is made from the stigmas, aka “threads,” of the saffron crocus flower. A pound of saffron costs thousands of dollars, more expensive than gold or diamond by weight. This is due to the small amount of stigmas produced by each plant and the high cost of human labor to carefully remove the threads. Veles Farming is aiming for 80% automation by the end of 2024, using proprietary software created exclusively for saffron cultivation. Once they achieve 80% automation, the company plans to set up vertical farms in the United States. The crop also has high value to the pharmaceutical industry, further increasing the selling price. More information on Veles Farming is available here.

According to one article, the 10 most valuable spices in the world are:

  1. Saffron
  2. Vanilla
  3. Green Cardamom
  4. Nutmeg
  5. Black Pepper
  6. Cloves
  7. Turmeric
  8. Star Anise
  9. White Truffle
  10. Sumac

Many are watching to see if the most expensive crops can make vertical farming profitable, which could be a boon to the horticultural lighting industry.


All images: Veles Farming


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David Shiller
David Shiller is the Publisher of LightNOW, and President of Lighting Solution Development, a North American consulting firm providing business development services to advanced lighting manufacturers. The ALA awarded David the Pillar of the Industry Award. David has co-chaired ALA’s Engineering Committee since 2010. David established MaxLite’s OEM component sales into a multi-million dollar division. He invented GU24 lamps while leading ENERGY STAR lighting programs for the US EPA. David has been published in leading lighting publications, including LD+A, enLIGHTenment Magazine, LEDs Magazine, and more.


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