Anette and Peter van Schie from Swedish vegetable greenhouse producer, Gällenäs, both came from a long line of horticulturalists. Peter from tomato and vegetable growers in the Netherlands and Anette from potato producers in Sweden.
“Potatoes and tomatoes are so closely related that you could inoculate a tomato plant on a potato root and harvest both under and above soil. So it's not that strange that it ”clicked” between us when we met when Peter studied for six months in Sweden,” Anette mused.
“After my studies, I moved to be with Peter in Holland where he worked in sales for Rijkzwaan and I worked for Noviflora, selling plants to wholesalers in Sweden. In 2011, my dad called to tell me that a job had opened up as a potato consultant in the region where I was from, which brought us back to Sweden. Once we moved back, we noticed that there was a real lack of local products and we built an arched greenhouse of 300m2 after the first winter.”
cal is the key word for Anette and Peter, who say that they don’t grow in either a Dutch or a Swedish way, but in their own way, according to their own ideas based on what they have learned and what they believe is important. They want their products to be local, full of great flavour, with sustainable production for future generations.
It can be a difficult market at times for Swedish tomatoes, which are forced to compete against cheaper imports. However, Gällenäs is one of the few domestic growers who offer tomato on the vine along with colourful small varieties, which gives them the advantage of offering something with added value. Prices have also decreased on the back on larger volumes which started last week.
"Up until last week, we didn't have enough tomatoes from Gällenäs to meet demand, but this has now changed and we should continue with the peak part of the season from now until midsummer. The warm weather has helped the tomatoes ripen, bringing their wide assortment of 15 different tomato varieties to the market," explains Anita Jannson from Hebes.
"Locally grown is bigger in Sweden at the moment than organic and with Gällenäs production so close to Gothenburg, their tomatoes are really popular. I think that another secret to their success is that they choose their plants by flavour above anything else, which makes them really delicious. Along with tomatoes, they also offer 3 different cucumber varieties, 3 types of chilli peppers ( (Jalapeno, Pimientos Padrone and Dutch Chile), eggplants and sweet pointed red pepper."
The tomatoes from Gällenäs are sold in trays and bulk, depending on the needs of the supermarket.
"Smaller supermarkets tend to find the trays the best way to offer a wide range and are easy to checkout with a barcode. The larger stores often have a display in the store with a large variety of tomatoes to choose from. All of the pick and mix tomatoes have a fixed price in order to avoid confusion at the checkout," Anita said.
Gällenäs grows without the use of any pesticides and uses environmentally certified plant nutrition. The plants are grown in coconut fibre and the greenhouse is heated with wood chips and the water used in the greenhouse is recycled.
For more information:
Anita JanssonHebe Frukt & Grönt AB
Tel: +46 31 780 27 00
Fax: +46 31 19 33 28