Enza Zaden, the international vegetable breeding company, gives vegetable growers the opportunity to learn more about our Dutch soil and discover its latest varieties at its Summer Field Days. The event is aimed at growers seeking inspiration and interaction with industry peers and renowned experts. The event takes place in Twisk, Enkhuizen and, for organic growers, at Vitalis in Voorst, from 27 to 30 September. More information and location details can be found here.
Enza Zaden is an independent family business based in Enkhuizen that was founded in 1938 and breeds vegetable varieties for the professional market. It is one of the ten largest vegetable breeding companies in the world and is Dutch market leader in iceberg lettuce.
More than 12 billion heads of lettuce are grown worldwide every year from its lettuce seeds. Its subsidiary Vitalis Organic Seeds – market leader in organic pumpkins and squashes in the Netherlands – has built up impressive expertise in the entire process of organic seed breeding, production and cultivation over the course of its 25-plus year existence. Its strip cropping project, for example, was recently nominated for the Plantum Sustainability Award 2022. This project will also be on show at the Summer Field Days. In addition, on Friday 30 September there will be a Meet & Greet with Enza Zaden specialists specifically for job seekers at the Twisk site.
Hydroponic cultivation in Enkhuizen
In Enkhuizen, at Enza Zaden’s headquarters, the central theme of the Summer Field Days will be hydroponic cultivation. In the spotlight, both live and virtually, will be innovations, new varieties and hydroponics. Hydroponic cultivation involves crops being grown in water instead of in the ground.
Enza Zaden product developer Frans Gubbels says: “Hydroponic lettuce cultivation is an extremely flexible method of growing that can be an attractive option for many regions in the world. Hydroponic cultivation enables growers to supply a wide range of lettuce types in different ways. Think whole heads, trio mixes, baby leaves and herbs. What’s more, hydroponically grown lettuce can be extremely environmentally friendly, hygienic and available to a very high quality standard all year round. We will be showing the many applications here.”
Demo fields in Twisk
In Twisk, which is home to Enza Zaden’s leafy crop demo fields, there will be new lettuce, endive and spinach varieties on display at the Summer Field Days. Soil health expert Christoffel den Herder will be attending on Thursday 29 September and will take visitors through the story of soil health. The programme starts with what goes on below the surface and then continues with a look at the crop above ground.
Strip cropping and new organic varieties in Voorst
From 27 to 30 September, Vitalis Organic Seeds will be showing a wide range of new and existing organic vegetable varieties. On Tuesday 27 September there will be a special event at which Dr Dirk van Apeldoorn of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) will be discussing strip cropping. This cultivation method involves growing several different crops in adjoining strips in a field. The diversity of crops creates a wide range of above- and below-ground interactions between the crops, enabling nutrients, water and sunlight to be exploited to the full. Alternating different crops also helps slow down the spread of pests and diseases.
In addition, agricultural consultant Coen ter Berg will be explaining the soil profile pit at the Voorst site. This pit is a cross section of the soil that you can walk through, putting you at eye level with the plants’ roots. It gives you a picture of the soil life and the kinds of things that go on in the soil.
Meet & Greet in Twisk for job seekers in West Friesland
Following the Summer Field Days, an informal Meet & Greet for job seekers in the region will take place in Twisk on Friday 30 September at 16:00. Thanks to its rapid growth, Enza Zaden has an average of 100 local and international vacancies to fill every year, ranging from secondary school to graduate level. Specialists from various departments will be on hand at the Twisk event to talk about and answer questions about working at Enza Zaden. Drinks and refreshments will be served.