Lettuces grown at Kawauchi plant shipped to Tokyo area

Frilly lettuces grown at an LED-illuminated hydroponic culture plant in the village of Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, have been shipped to the Tokyo metropolitan area on a full-fledged basis. The plant, built by the village and called KiMiDoRi, is completely shut off from the outside air and frilly lettuces are grown under artificial light. It went into full operation in April, growing plants on a test basis. All vegetables grown there have been subject to checks for radioactive substances. At the plant, vegetables can be harvested in about 40 days after seeding. The temperature there is kept at 22 to 25 C throughout the year. About 2,000 heads of several kinds of vegetables, including frilly lettuces, are shipped a day from the plant, mainly to the restaurant industry in the Tokyo metropolitan region. The plant plans to expand shipments to 8,000 heads a day. Plant worker Maya Kaneko, 27, said, "We want to ship more fresh and safe vegetables grown in Kawauchi to Fukushima Prefecture and other areas." The plant has cultivation chambers illuminated by light-emitting diodes and fluorescent tubes. In chambers using LED illumination, the rate of the growth of vegetables can be adjusted by the strength of lighting. (Caption) Photo shows plant workers busy with shipments of frilly lettuces.