Move aside, fake meat. The future of protein might be salmon raised in a huge, air-conditioned suburban building.
On a former tomato field near the tip of the Florida peninsula, in a remote expanse of shabby nurseries growing palm trees and garden plants at the edge of the Everglades, there’s an imposing new building that doesn’t seem to belong in an area that doesn’t seem to change. It has clean rectangular lines, fresh white paint and a footprint nearly as large as the downtown Miami Heat arena 40 miles and a world away. It’s the first piece of an industrial complex that—if all goes as planned—will grow 20 times larger over the next decade, and will reshape the future of food.
This so-called Bluehouse is on track to become the world’s biggest land-based fish farm over the next decade, eventually producing a billion meals a year on a campus the size of the Mall of America. And the fish it will start delivering to American customers this summer are as incongruous as the behemoth of a building itself: Atlantic salmon, a cold-water species that has never been found anywhere near Florida and is almost always flown into the United States from the fjords of Norway or the frigid bays of southern Chile. Now the Norwegian firm Atlantic Sapphire has moved its entire river-to-sea life cycle into indoor tanks, aiming to supply nearly half the current U.S. salmon diet from the sweltering subtropics.