Kalter Aardbeien has been growing Sonsation strawberries since this spring, a step they are very happy about at the company in the Koekoekspolder in IJsselmuiden (Netherlands). Richard Kalter, from the company that changed more than just the variety this year: "It is a beautiful, shiny, and very important, tasty strawberry." In March, solar panels were installed on the shed roof, and vacationers in Bonaire or Curacao can now find strawberries from IJsselmuiden on the shelves.
The first experiences with the variety during the test period were positive. "We had first seen the variety in the tests, and we immediately found the shape, color, shine and the taste better than our previous variety." The largest advantage is according to Richard that much less pesticides are required for growing Sonsation, a variety from breeder Flevo Berry from Ens. "We use less crop protection, but still have less plant loss. It is a very strong variety."
The fun of the first new strawberry
To fit the growth optimally to the new variety, the choice to switch the 1.7 ha company completely was quickly made. "Switching completely is the only right way to focus completely on the new variety with regard to feeding and watering. We made the choice pretty fast, but we had a strong feeling it could be progress. Luckily that turned out to be true after eight months."
The strawberries at Kalter are grown in a greenhouse without assimilation lighting, that is why growing takes place from mid-March to the beginning of January. "In the real Dutch winter it is often too dark and too cold. To be in production at this time, requires another level of lighting. We did not choose for that. We also love to have the fun of the new growth, in which everyone is looking for the first new strawberries. You don't have that when you grow all year round."
No assimilation lighting at Kalter Aardbeien, but they have solar panels and geothermal heat. "On 19 December 2014 we closed off the gas supply. We use the heated water from neighboring cucumber companies to heat the greenhouse. The water arrives at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius, enough for our growth. The water leaves our company at 25 degrees."
In November exclusive position greenhouse strawberries Benelux
The prices for greenhouse strawberries fluctuated heavily as usual this year. "The month of October was difficult for pricing, but now in November prices are better again. The supply is decreasing rather quickly now, and we have to wait for the first import. Particularly at the beginning of November greenhouse growers in the Netherlands and in Belgium are often the only ones in production. You can see this in the higher pricing. Most strawberries from the growth of October will be exported abroad, while for the spring growth many more strawberries remain in the Netherlands."
The strawberries are sold in their farm shop, but also to the market. Greengrocers, wholesalers, and exporters. In conjunction with one of the greengrocers, Postuma AGF, the strawberries from IJsselmuiden were made available in Bonaire and Curacao. "Postuma has established, together with us, this line. It is nice to hear from people on vacation there that they are eating our Dutch strawberries at the pool."