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Papenburg: Heinz-Jürgen Albers

"By the end of the year, we aim to expand our hydroponic cultivation by two hectares"

For the past five years, Heinz-Jürgen Albers has dedicated himself to the hydroponic cultivation of cut herbs using an innovative floating system. Following the initial successful trials last year, he has almost completely converted his 0.6-hectare facility to root salads this year, primarily Triosalad (90 percent). However, this conversion is just the first step in a long-term growth strategy, according to the Papenburg grower: By the end of the year, Albers plans to construct an additional hydroponic facility covering about two hectares.

Click here for a photo series of the Papenburg facility.

During a tour of the facility, Albers emphasizes the numerous advantages of hydroponics compared to traditional cultivation methods, not only from the grower's perspective, but also for the consumer. Thanks to a closed water circuit, nutrients are saved in cultivation and water consumption is simultaneously reduced. "Moreover, with hydro lettuce, we have a clean, almost kitchen-ready product that can be easily prepared later in the kitchen and stays fresh for several days longer compared to field-grown products. Thanks to hydroponics, lettuce, which has lost its significance over the years, has once again become the focus of consumers. Nevertheless, Triosalad is the most popular."

Heinz-Jürgen Albers is pioneering the year-round cultivation of hydro lettuces. Since the lettuce is constantly in water, the floating system is ideally suited for lettuce cultivation.

Through the local horticultural center, the hydro lettuces reach retail stores throughout the northern German region. However, Albers also sees interesting sales opportunities outside the retail food industry. "For example, I could also imagine cut lettuces for the catering and communal feeding sectors. I am basically open to anything, but we would have to create the necessary sales structures." Initially, Albers has set a goal to optimize the cultivation system and possibly increase its efficiency. "Considering the advancing technology, eventually only two employees would be needed to manage the entire facility."

Triosalad as far as the eye can see. Depending on the weather, it takes about six weeks from sowing to harvest.

For more information:
Heinz-Jürgen Albers
Albers Kräuterpack GmbH & Co. KG
Vagedesweg 5
D-26871 Aschendorf
T: +49 4962 9963 910
[email protected]

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