Protected cultivation of soft fruit in glashouse spreads risk
We found a nice interview with our client Meyers soft fruit were we build a glass greenhouse in 2011. Meyers Softfruit specialised in protected cultivation of soft fruit.
Meyers Soft fruit specializes in growing strawberries, blackberries and red currants. The company is situated in Riemst in Limburg. Wim's father, Louis Meyers, has always been active in open ground cultivation. "In 1992 he started professionally with protected cultivation in a glasshouse," Wim says. "He wanted to spread the risks over the whole year and from then the game started. Every time things were added, such as closed tunnels or another glasshouse, scaffolding,etc. In this way we grew into the company we are now."
"Our company has an area of slightly more than 5 HA., of which 1.44 HA under glass and 1.7 HA scaffolding, all of which are covered on the one side with open tunnels and on the other side by closed tunnels. The remainder of the area is a field for growing tray plants (strawberry) and a growing field for blackberries (longcanes) and red currants. We grow all our plants ourselves in a growing field. This allows our company to work completely autonomous without having to buy a large number of plants every year." Wim mentions that the larger part of the production is strawberries. "About 80% are strawberries, 10% blackberries and the rest red currants. The red currants have already been picked this year. We really try and be the first."
- Blackberries and redcurrants as well
The company has been specializing in strawberries, but about 6 years ago decided to grow blackberries and red currants as well. "We just wanted to try these products once and it is also financially more attractive to grow other products. One has to look over a period of five years. There are always good and not so good years. They keep each other in balance. Those cultivations are not easy but do have charm. In the meantime we have learned a lot about these cultivations and we are happy with them. There is a good chance that we will expand further in the future. Clients, who buy via house sales more often also request blackberries. That is certainly a stimulus and therefore we also bought some raspberry plants to see what will happen."
- Veiling Borgloon
The first Belgian redcurrants at Veiling Borgloon this year were supplied by Meyers Soft fruit. The larger part of the production is sold via Veiling Borgloon and the rest via vending machines. 'We have been connected with this auction house from the start and the cooperation runs very well. Our aim is, as long as possible during the year, to put top quality strawberries on the market. Not gigantic volumes, but to have strawberries 7 on 7, 24 on 24 effectively.
"We supply strawberries from 15 March to 31 December and test various varieties. Our main variety is Elsanta, but we also have varieties such as Sonata, Eve's Delight and Portola. Two years ago we built a new glasshouse of 8,000 meter and there we grow Sonata's. Our clients are very happy with these and also the quality and freshness are appreciated."
The products are all sold under the Eburon brand and sold locally and abroad. "Packings are different per client. It is not a problem for us to react to this. In this way we can also create a higher price. All activities happen at the company itself and that makes us flexible."
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