In the Netherlands, the global pandemic hit the Zonneheerdt farm hard. "We've had a bad 18 months," Martin Topper says. "But sales have picked up. They're still not great but are continuing reasonably well. Our English, Scandinavian, and German hospitality customers want to serve their guests something beautiful again. And they've come to the right place."
This farm produces things like purple, yellow, white, purple haze, and red carrots. They also cultivate Chioggia, yellow, and mini beets, parsnips, and parsley root. This year's colored carrots crop is reasonably sized, says Martin. "The carrots are generally shorter than usual. But, they're nice and straight. In 2017, we grew Bejo red carrots on trial for the first time. Every year we expand cautiously. This year, we have more red carrots again. This vegetable has plenty of potential. It's very popular in India. We're trying to gain more of a foothold in Europe too."
"In recent years, we sold less and less to retailers. But, during the pandemic, we started that up again. Particularly vegetable pack sellers have rediscovered us. They're buying more than in the past," adds Martin.
"COVID-19 has made people more health-conscious. They're looking for honest products. And people want to know where they originate. I think that's the big plus of the whole COVID-19 situation. Our mixed crates are also gaining popularity."
Martin is optimistic about the future of colorful full soil vegetables. "Our vegetables have a long history. But, they're unfortunately still unknown to many. We're proud of the unique vegetables we grow. We process those into beautiful end products. These go to retailers, the foodservice sector, and the industry and, ultimately, consumers get them. There will always be competition. However, with our good quality products, we'll certainly earn our place," he concludes.
For more information:
8251 RB, Dronten, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 653 377 503