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Hay Soberjé: "We sell all our products in our shop"
Dutch farmer attracts 40,000 visitors to Strawberry Land theme park during the season
When Hay Soberjé was a boy, he had to get up at four in the morning to go and pick strawberries. He was determined, as an adult, never to have anything to do with strawberries. This plan was not very successful. Besides his own four hectare farm and 7,500 m2 greenhouse, this grower has also developed a huge attraction park dedicated to strawberries. Annually, between April and September, about 40,000 people visit Strawberry Land in Horst.
"After having two non-strawberry related careers, I realised that each job has it's ups and downs. So, I decided to follow in my father's footsteps and become a strawberry farmer. Ten years later, we added greenhouse strawberries. Ten years after that I cleared out a corner of the pig sty to build a farm stall selling strawberries, and that is how this all started."
The small farm stall grew into a theme park, which opened in 1998. It has a shop, terrace, museum, greenhouses, fields, a forest, elves, roads, squares, several indoor and outdoor play areas and a lot more. The park also has a strawberry pharmacy, many typical Provencal buildings with towers and gates, and a haystack. "We think of something new each year. This year is it 'Strawberry Dreams'. You walk through a world of dreams, strawberries and fantasy," says Hay.
Three years ago Hay was selling at auction and last year he was still supplying restaurants and ice cream shops with excess stock. From this year, all their strawberries are being sold in their own shop. "The shop and terrace can be accessed separately from the park."
Strawberry Land's target market is young families. "They can picnic here, take walks and taste our product. The children love picking their own strawberries. They go on educational treasure hunts and get their own strawberry plant to take home", says Hay. He can no longer picture his life without strawberries. "I love telling people about strawberries" he says.
Publication date: 7/14/2017
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