Locally sourced meals are now on the menu for passengers travelling from Newark, New Jersey to Singapore.
Singapore’s national carrier has partnered with AeroFarms – an indoor farming company – to bring fresh food from a local indoor farm in Newark, only miles away from the city’s airport to the plates of travellers.
While farm-to-table is a well-known food movement that promotes serving fresh, locally-sourced food, farm-to-plane is certainly a novel concept.
“Imagine boarding a plane and enjoying a salad harvested as close to departure as possible – literally the world’s freshest airline food,” said Antony McNeil, director of food and beverage for Singapore Airlines.
“The only way to get fresher greens inflight is to pick them from your own garden,” he added.
The Singapore – Newark service is flown by a A350-900ULR. The ultra long range plane is configured with 161 seats of which 67 are business class and 94 are premium economy. There are no economy class seats on this aircraft. This route is widely regarded as the world’s longest commercial flight currently available to passengers, although Australian carrier Qantas could beat this record if it green-lights its Project Sunrise venture which is currently in its testing stage.
How food is grown in vertical farms
AeroFarms’ indoor growing facility is less than five miles from the Newark International Airport. The company uses a technique called vertical farming which involves producing food in vertically stacked layers.
In an effort to bring fresh produce to planes, AeroFarms says it has converted an abandoned steel mill into a one-acre, indoor vertical farm “producing the equivalent of 390 acres of locally grown produce with up to 30 harvests each year – all without soil, pesticides or sunlight – even at the height of winter”.
AeroFarm says greens are grown “aeroponically”: Instead of using soil, seeds grow indoors on a “specialty growing cloth medium” under LED lights calibrated to provide the ideal spectrum for plant development. Under strict temperature and humidity controls, plant roots are misted with precise amounts of water and nutrients. The company says its produce is grown without pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
What’s on SIA’s farm-to-plane menu?
Below are examples of dishes which are offered to passengers traveling in both Business Class and Premium Economy Class on SQ21 flights from Newark to Singapore (the airline says the menus are subject to change):
Soy Poached Chicken: Pickled Ginger Vinaigrette, Zucchini Ribbons, with Sweet Potato Roesti, Soy Beans and AeroFarms Baby Pac Choi.
The Garden Green: Poached Asparagus, Broccolini, Avocado with Shaved Fennel & Flaked Hot Smoked Salmon, AeroFarms medley of Baby Ruby Streaks, Watercress and Arugula, with Lemon Vinaigrette.
Heirloom Tomato Ceviche: Baby Burrata, Cured Ham, Palm Hearts, AeroFarms Arugula with Spiced Tomato Dressing.
Initiative part of SIA’s wellness-oriented cuisine
The airline’s farm-to-plane cuisine is part of a series of wellness-oriented initiatives it has recently developed including a health-focused inflight menu launched last month in partnership with Como Shambhala.
Singapore Airlines says it’s planning on additional farm-to-plane initiatives throughout its global network.
What are your thoughts on farm-to-plane cuisine? Should more airlines follow suit? Let us know in the comments below.