Eelco van Putten has Purple Sprout Experience

The purple sprout has the looks, the flavour, and, due to the purple anthocyanin, it also has a few additional healthy characteristics. But as the saying goes, some people don’t trust anything they don’t know. And the same is true for retailers, who therefore don’t put these sprouts on their shelves. High time, therefore, to experience the purple sprouts during the Purple Sprout Experience organised by Eelco van Putten by courtesy of Van Nature.

Please click here for the photo report.

Eating sprouts
Eelco is determined to “get everyone to eat sprouts.” His company grew rapidly by growing green sprouts, but now he’s dedicated to the purple version. “I enjoy growing flavourful quality products, and making as many people as possible into sprout enthusiasts,” he said. 

Arjan Levarht takes care of global sales as one of the distributors. 

Not painted
“Many people think it’s an unnatural colour, sometimes they ask if we paint green sprouts purple,” grower Eelco told the bloggers, vloggers and instagrammers that were drawn to the event. Purple sprouts are 100 per cent natural, and they came about naturally, Syntega agriculturalists Michiel de Mol said. He explained how the purple sprouts came about. “The purple colouring is natural in some sprout varieties. By selecting and cross-breeding purple sprouts with existing green ones, we managed to create a new sprout variety with this new characteristic.” Eelco demonstrated no paint is used by cutting a purple sprout in half. It was also purple on the inside. 

The participants of the Purple Sprout event were given a tour of the company: across the fields on which the sprouts are grown to the sorting, packing and cleaning machines that handle the harvested products. This involves an impressive amount of sprouts every day, which are sold all over the world.

Van Putten harvests green sprouts from June. Coincidentally, the first purple sprouts were harvested on the day of the Purple Sprout Experience. These will be available from Lidl as of this week. This discount supermarket chain wanted the purple sprouts on their shelves from the moment they were introduced. Other supermarket chains have since followed their example.

Sprouts grow on tall stalks. When the stalks are about one metre high, the centre of growth is removed so they don’t become too high, according to Eelco. When the sprouts are ready to be harvested, knives on the bottom of the harvest machine cut off the stalk. Field workers then put these in a cutting machine that cuts the sprouts and leaves from the stalk. The sprouts go to the processor, the stalks and leaves remain on the field as green manuring.

Before harvest machines were invented, the sprouts were harvested manually. All participants were invited to try their hand at this. It turned out to be quite heavy labour, the sprouts are firmly attached to the stalks, and it’s difficult to break them off when your hands are cold.

Sprout sauce
After the cold and the labour, the next stop was the delightful restaurant de Snoeperij & het Kabinet in Dirksland. Chef, Erica Goenendijk, prepared a flavourful meal. She creatively used purple sprouts in every course, and the sweet sprout sauce on the dessert was the biggest surprise.

Please click here for the photo report.

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